Sleep is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. For those battling cancer, sleep is truly vital to the treatment process.
Why is sleep important?
Sleep helps boosts your immune system and increase your body’s energy to fight off disease. Fighting cancer is the hardest battle your body will ever have to undergo. Sleep can also ease some of the pain. Even if just for a few hours, the body is able to relax when sleeping.When a body goes too long without sleep, it becomes stressed. This can actually reduce the effectiveness of the cancer treatment. A lack of sleep will worsen the immune system and make it harder to recover from an illness or injury.In addition to fighting the disease, being well-rested can make you feel more positive and have a better outlook on life.
What if you have trouble sleeping?
How well you sleep will determine your body’s ability to fight cancer or other diseases. It’s fine to have a couple bad night of sleep every so often, but consistently getting poor sleep will alter the balance of cortisol and melatonin in your body.Both cortisol and melatonin are released during sleep. Cortisol help regulate the immune system, while melatonin has antioxidant properties to prevent cells from causing cancer.Many people suffer from sleep disturbance including insomnia, restless legs syndrome and fragmented sleep. Sleep disturbances are commonly seen in cancer patients. In fact, a study found that up to 80 percent of cancer patients have difficulty falling or staying asleep.The main reason cancer patients can’t get a good night’s rest is because of emotional distress. After getting diagnosed with cancer, patients feel worry, anxiety, depression, stress and even fear.
How do you fix a sleep disorder?
First, the patient has to be diagnosed by a medical professional. Patients are asked specific questions regarding their sleep habits. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy require a formal sleep study to diagnose. The quality of sleep and the body’s response to problems is measure.It is crucial to diagnose sleep apnea early in cancer patients. If left untreated, it can actually increase the risk of dying from cancer. A researcher claimed that 25 percent of the world’s population suffer from sleep apnea, but 90 percent don’t even know it.Fortunately, there are a few therapies that can help patients with sleep disorders:
Light and stimulant: Special lamps are used to regulate circadian rhythms to establish a normal sleep-wake cycle.
Cognitive behavioral: Deep breathing and muscle relaxation can reduce the need for sleep medications.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction: Teaches patients to deal with stressful situations better.
Sleep restriction procedures: Patients must follow a strict bedtime and wake up time schedule.
Naturopathic: Magnesium, ginseng, coenzyme Q10 and cordyceps can improve symptoms of fatigue.