There are problems with sleep patterns that cause hours of sleep to change or not be able to sleep can be experienced by anyone. No exception for cancer patients. Even though cancer patients should get optimal sleep time, don't let them get less rest. So, what causes sleep disorders in cancer? Find out the answer below, yes.
Why do cancer patients often not sleep?
Sleep is one of the things you can't miss every day. Because, sleep and rest have an important function to restore the body's energy after a day of activities. You can also get a variety of good benefits if you get optimal sleep time. For example, can maintain physical and mental health, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, and so forth.
Even so, there are still many people who can't sleep, including cancer patients. Reported from the page of the National Cancer Institute, the most common sleep disorder experienced by cancer patients is insomnia.
Generally, people who get cancer treatment are more prone to fatigue and thus require longer sleep times. However, a study shows that most cancer sufferers actually feel the opposite, that is, they cannot sleep well. This sleep disorder can be triggered by several factors, namely:
1. Side effects of cancer treatment
According to Oxana Palesh, an assistant professor at Stanford University Medical Center, sleep disorders are common in cancer patients, affecting even 80 percent of patients who undergo chemotherapy.
A study he did also found that sleep disorders insomnia can be experienced up to three times more in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy than in healthy people.
In addition, the work of drugs taken by cancer patients such as hormone therapy, corticosteroids, sedatives, and antidepressants, which are used in the long term can cause insomnia.
2. Complaints arising from drugs and cancer treatment
Without realizing it, the things that arise from cancer treatments such as pain, anxiety, night sweats, digestive problems, bladder problems, and respiratory problems also affect the sleep patterns of cancer patients.
3. Not able to manage stress properly
In addition to the effects of drugs and the treatment they are undergoing, many cancer patients cannot sleep because they experience prolonged stress. Conditions that trigger stress also vary, ranging from feeling worried about the disease suffered; worried about your personal, family, or work life; or because of thinking about physical changes that occur due to treatment.
4. Being in hospital for a long time
During hospitalization, it is possible for cancer patients to experience saturation so they cannot sleep as usual. This can be due to feeling uncomfortable with beds, pillows, mattresses, room temperature, or having to share rooms with other patients while in hospital.
In addition, hospital routines can also be a cause of sleep disorders in cancer patients. For example, when doctors and nurses come to do an examination or just give medicines.
Tips to overcome sleep disorders in cancer patients
Getting enough sleep while undergoing cancer treatment is very important in combating cancer. Because, according to Dr. Laeeq Shamsuddin, a medical director of the sleep clinic in Cancer Treatment Centers of America, lack of sleep will increase the hormone cortisol in the body.
When there is an increase in cortisol, the number of natural killer cells that work to fight cancer in the body will decrease. So, it is important to have optimal sleep time to accelerate cancer healing.
For the sake of optimal sleep patterns, cancer patients can do the following tricks:
- Do exercise at least once a day. You can do this activity starting from 2-3 hours before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine at least 6-8 hours before going to bed.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Take warm drinks such as warm milk or decaffeinated tea before going to bed.
- Napping is allowed as long as it's not too long to avoid disturbing sleep at night.
- Ask someone for help to massage your back or legs before going to bed.
- If you have to be hospitalized in a hospital, make the atmosphere of the room as comfortable as possible at home. For example by bringing pillows and blankets from home.
If after doing these things you still can't sleep, try to consult with the conditions you are experiencing with the doctor or nurse who is dealing with you so that you can find out why you have trouble sleeping.
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