You have to sleep. We all know what a difference a good night's rest means. We also all know how hard that can be to achieve. When the normal troubles with sleep are joined by cancer-related factors, it can be even harder. All of our worries seem worse at 2 AM, and many of us have spent sleepless hours thinking about every possible dire possibility. Some of the drugs we take may make it harder to sleep. When our bodies are "chemically altered" (meaning, when we are on chemotherapy), it can seem that nothing works smoothly and normally, and that may include sleeping.
A recent article by Sonia Anooli, MD at the University of California San Diego, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, addresses these issues nicely. Here is the introduction and then a link to read more:
Fatigue is recognized by oncologists as one of the most frequent complaints of patients with cancer. More importantly, fatigue is among the symptoms about which patients express the most concern. What is less recognized is that there are many components of fatigue, including physiologic factors (such as pain, anemia or menopause), psychological factors (such as depression or anxiety), and chronobiologic factors (such as circadian rhythms disorders and sleep). In particular, the relationship between fatigue and sleep is becoming more clear, with data suggesting that sleep problems are significantly correlated with increased fatigue. Yet, patients with cancer are not always asked about their sleep nor treated appropriately for their sleep problems.