As a cancer survivor, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, due to the physical changes caused by cancer or surgery; the side effects of medications; extreme fatigue; or increased stress. You are not alone. Quality sleep is often a struggle for many, which is a concern since sleep plays such an important role in our overall health. Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to have enough energy to meet the day’s physical and mental demands.
Sleep allows the body time to rest and recoup. If you fall short of the recommendations, the following tips from the American Cancer Society may be able to help you achieve a healthier balance.
In addition to the tips above, try to minimize light prior to bedtime. This includes the light from your computer, television or cell phone – perhaps go as far as to ban these devices from your sleeping environment. Keeping a sleep routine is also recommended. Doing the same thing each night prior to turning in can help prepare your body and mind for sleep. Stick to activities that promote relaxation such as meditation, yoga, journaling or reading.
Lastly, how you handle stress can significantly impact your ability to sleep. While some stress drives us to perform, other stress can leave us worrying and anxious. It’s the latter feelings that keep the mind spinning and sleep at a distance. If you find yourself in this situation, try getting out of bed and doing something that will help you relax or, if you are too warm and cozy, try some focused deep breathing or reach for an interesting read.
Without a good night’s sleep we don’t feel, look or do our best. We are more likely to forget things, have accidents, gain weight, get sick and be irritable. A continued lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, job performance and more. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, now might be the time to make sleep a priority. Just like any other healthy habit, it will require dedication and perseverance. Hopefully the tips above help you achieve this goal!
What strategies do you currently employ to ensure you are well-rested? We would love to learn from you!