What is insomnia?
Insomnia is characterized by difficulty in falling asleep and/or remaining asleep. When you have trouble sleeping, it can affect your daily life. You might feel tired, irritable, or unable to focus.
Insomnia can make other cancer-related conditions and symptoms (pain, fatigue, depression, or anxiety) worse. It can also cause or worsen other conditions, such as high blood pressure. Insomnia can make it difficult for you to cope with cancer and make you feel more isolated.
How bad is my insomnia?
Mild: The symptoms are waking up several times during the night, feeling tired after waking up, and finding it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired. In most of the cases, mild symptoms can be safely managed at home by following the tips given in the section below.
Moderate: The symptoms include waking up early and cannot go back to sleep, feeling tired and irritable during the day, poor concentration and memory.
Severe: Visit your doctor urgently if you have lethargy, severe difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, waking up early and insomnia is affecting your daily life.
How to manage mild insomnia?
Keep track of your sleep pattern using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the problem to your doctor or nurse.
- Have healthy sleep habits or good “sleep hygiene.”
- Keep your room cool and dark.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Keep your bedding clean and comfortable. Use pillows and blankets to make yourself comfortable.
- Avoid eating a big meal or drinking a lot of liquid before bed.
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Avoid exercise right before bed.
- Set a regular sleep schedule.
- Don’t watch TV or use a cell phone or tablet, in bed.
2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you reduce anxiety. The goal is to understand patterns in sleep habits and how to address them.
3. Insomnia can be treated by medication to address the problem that is causing it.
4. Restless legs are a common side effect of cancer that causes insomnia.
5. If you have ongoing sleep problems, your doctor may recommend a sleep study. It is a test that monitors your body’s activities while you are sleeping. Visit sleep specialist can help find out the cause and provide additional treatment options.
How to manage severe insomnia?
You should talk with your primary care physician if you consistently:
- Have trouble falling asleep
- Can’t stay asleep
- Wake up earlier than you want to
- Don’t feel refreshed after sleep
What causes insomnia?
- It might be caused by cancer, side effects of cancer treatment
2. Other conditions
- Anxiety or depression
- Confusion or delirium
- Heart problems
- Low or high thyroid hormone levels
- Restless legs
- Neurological problems
- Urinary problems
3. Erratic work hours, night shifts, excessive screen time, caffeine or alcohol, and smoking can cause insomnia or make it worse.
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