When the Odds are Stacked Against You and Your Zzzs.

Posted: October 14, 2020








Mental Health

Are you in cancer treatment right now? One of the things your body needs most at the moment, is also one of the most difficult to get. Ugh.

You know the benefits of sleep, but you're unfortunately probably finding it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep in treatment…

According to Eleonora Naydis, ND, “Up to 80% of cancer patients experience insomnia.”

Many of us also struggle with sleep apnea and/or abnormal sleep-wake patterns. 

Despite the necessity of inpatient care, our homes away from home during treatment don’t usually help us sleep any easier. 

Does this sound familiar? 

Side effects, like nausea and pain, are making it tough to get comfy. Ports, surgical incisions, and tangled IV wires are annoying the f*ck out of you every time you move, but you soldier on. 

You promised your care team and everyone you know that you would try to “rest.” 

And about three minutes after you finally find a relatively comfortable position and close your eyes? BEEP! Your medical equipment begins singing you the song of its people at 3 a.m. In comes the nurse to adjust the machinery (and take your vitals while she’s at it). You’re finally fading out of consciousness again when you notice a mysterious little red LED across the room and begin wondering what it’s from.
It’s enough to make you scream, right? Such is the reality of trying to sleep in the hospital during treatment. We don’t want to dishearten you, but resting well at home can be challenging after discharge, too.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect your sleep space to take care of yourself, no matter what stands in the way of you and R-E-S-T! 

To start, set some boundaries. 

Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” when you’re winding down for bed, and feel free to let your loved ones know that you’re only available for true emergencies. Don’t feel guilty about protecting the peace and quiet that you need to rest. 

Of course, it’s not as easy to ban your medical team from waking you. However, many nurses will make an effort to consolidate their visits to the room as much as possible if you give them a heads up. Let your care team know that you’ll be attempting to get some much needed rest between specific hours and don’t want to be bothered unless you require emergency medical care. 

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