Battling cancer is a tough job. Not only does the disease take its toll on an ailing
body, but modern treatments often include side-effects that can make healing
all the more challenging. And insomnia is among those side effects.
I see many patients who've gone through cancer treatment only to be left with chronic insomnia. In fact, as many as one-third of all cancer patients develop sleep problems during treatment that then can persist for years afterward--even after the cancer has gone into remission. Sadly, the insomnia doesn't go into remission too. Insomnia takes over these patients' lives for many reasons, including stress caused by their illness and changes to regular sleep patterns caused by their treatments.
But there's hope. A new study is underway in a research program based in Alberta, Canada to help such patients gain the control they so desire of their sleep life. It's called I-CAN Sleep (short for Individuals with Insomnia and CANcer), and it's the first Canadian study to assess sleep-improving techniques specifically intended for cancer patients and survivors.
Why is this necessary? Well, consider the following:
The crux of this study examines two areas related to sleep:
My guess is the study will show that the techniques I've been endorsing for years are helpful. They are, after all, the essence of mind-body sleep medicine. Examples include:
Note that all of these
strategies are non-invasive, drug-free and cost free. Something that typically
cannot be said for all those exhausting weeks and months of addressing an
illness as scary and severe as cancer with traditional medicine.
I would also venture to guess that those patients who can successfully get back a restful night will gain back more than sound sleep. They'll capture more health. More vitality and energy. And definitely more life.
To learn more about the I-CAN Sleep program, call 1-877-SLEEP40.
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™
This article on insomnia in cancer patients is also available at Dr. Breus's official blog, The Insomnia Blog: by Sleep Doctor Michael Breus, PhD.
Follow Dr. Michael J. Breus on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thesleepdoctor