Forty winks. A cat nap. Down time. A little shut eye. Whatever you call it, it’s important. Getting sufficient sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health during cancer treatment.
Sounds easy, right? On the couch, you can’t hold your eyes open. Then, after you’ve walked 10 steps to your bed, you’re suddenly wide awake, finding sleep as elusive as a black cat on a moonless night.
Breast cancer can make getting and staying asleep even harder. Steroids and other medications commonly used in treatment make some patients feel jittery. Anxiety, depression, and the vast array of conflicting emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis often make sleep hard to come by — but getting enough rest is critical.
These tips will help you get the sleep you need:
Let there be darkness
Blackout curtains are available at discount stores and provide insulation as well as light cancellation. Use them on their own or add them to window treatments you already have. And, make sure the drapes close all the way. If light peeps through, close that gap, even if you have to use oversized paper clips or clothes pins. You won’t notice your compromised aesthetics when you’re blissfully asleep.
Make it a habit
Try to get into and out of bed at the same time every day. Eventually, your body will understand what to do and it will be easier to fall asleep. Consistency is key! To help yourself make healthy sleep patterns a habit, mark your calendar for a 21-day block and stick to your routine.
Be Like Goldilocks
Get yourself a bed that’s not too hard, not too soft, but just right. That applies to your room temperature too: make sure it’s not too hot and not too cold. Sleep experts recommend setting the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If your tootsies get cold, try using a hot water bottle or wearing socks.
Some people can sleep while the local middle school marching band rehearses just outside the window. Most people, though, find that quiet is much more conducive to a good night’s rest. Rid your room of noisemakers so you can focus on your task: falling and staying asleep.
Give Yourself a Clue
Before bedtime, create a little ritual that you find calming. You may enjoy a warm beverage like heated milk or herbal tea. Perhaps reading or prayer time soothes your mind and signals your body that it’s time for sleep. Incorporating a comforting ritual into your evening can clue your body in that it’s time to call it a night.
And, During the Day…
Get a little fresh air and exercise. Try not to eat dinner too late in the day. Turn off your screen a couple hours before bedtime. And watch your intake of alcohol. These behaviors during the day can impact the quality of your rest at night.
Your mother knew that her babies needed sleep. Listen to your mom’s sage advice and treat yourself to behaviors that will help you get the rest you need. You’ll be glad you did.
Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.