Our recent blog on sleep deprivation and sleep deficiency explained what the terms mean and how important sleep is to good health. When you or your loved one is managing with a diagnosis like mesothelioma, it is not unusual to suffer from lack of sleep. Now that you have identified this problem, how can you help solve it?
Sleep hygiene is a defined as “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness” (www.sleepfoundation.org).
Sleep should be a priority for everybody, but especially so for people being treated for mesothelioma. Getting a restful night of sleep can be challenging. It is estimated that up to 59% of all cancer patients suffer from insomnia. Some of the possible causes of sleep deficiencies with a cancer diagnosis can be stress, pain, side effects from the cancer treatments, new medications that are interfering with sleep, or possibly the cancer itself.
How do you improve your sleep hygiene during the stress of managing a mesothelioma diagnosis? Let’s begin with how your routine affects the quality of your sleep. Once you determine how much sleep you function best with, make it your goal to get that amount. The average adult requires 7 to 9 hours a night for their best performance. One way to achieve this is to limit daytime naps to no more than 30 minutes. Also helpful is exercising during the day – it can be as simple as walking and getting outside for at least 20 minutes. Try not to drink caffeine or eat rich or spicy foods close to bedtime. Too much alcohol can also interfere with sleep – although you might get to sleep faster, staying asleep can be an issue. Make sure that your bedroom is comfortable – a cooler temperature is better for restful sleep. Finally, try and make the time you go to bed each night routine, so your body understands when it is time to fall asleep. Above all, make sure you are always reaching out to your loved ones and your caretakers throughout this ordeal, and relieve some of the burdens and worries that are inhibiting your sleep.
It is important to keep your mesothelioma team in the loop of how you are sleeping. Sleep is as important as exercise, medication, and nutrition when dealing with any cancer diagnosis, and your nurses and doctors need to be aware of anything that might be impacting your fight. Your mesothelioma team can even guide you to sleeping resources as well – the counselors on site at a mesothelioma center can benefit patients by helping them practice healthy sleeping techniques. There are ways and resources to help you get restful sleep. It begins with recognizing how important a role sleep plays in your health.
Get a good night of restful sleep, or make changes and talk to someone to help you achieve this goal. It is a priority!