Being Well

Insomnia Relief: Tips for Catching Some ZZZs

You can tackle insomnia by trying to stick to the same nighttime routine.

Are stress and treatment side effects literally keeping you awake at night? You’re not alone. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer and sleep disturbances often go hand-in-hand — half of all patients experience insomnia.

Fortunately, you can get a good night’s rest with a bit of preparation and adaptation. Our insomnia relief tips can help you finally get some shut-eye and feel ready to take on the day when you wake up.

While these tips may vary based on your preferences or how you’re feeling, most can be used for people living with cancer, for caregivers and for people who are just struggling to snooze at night. For best results, don’t try every tip at once. Instead, incorporate one at a time so that you can determine which ones work best for you.

Stick to a Routine

Work hard to stick to a nighttime routine. Performing the same tasks in the same order around the same time can help your brain know to start preparing for sleep. Try getting into comfortable pajamas, washing your face and writing in a gratitude journal before lying in bed each night. It’s important to keep your routine as similar as possible every night, even on the weekends. Commit to heading to bed at the same time and completing the same tasks before hitting the sack for at least a month to gauge your results.

Limit Your Screen Time

Reduce your amount of screen time in the hours before bed. It can be tempting to scroll through your social media accounts on your phone while lying in bed, or catching up on your favorite shows while resting on your pillow. This exposure to screens, however, can make it more difficult for your brain to settle down once you turn out the light. Instead, try activities like reading or writing before bed. For even better results, keep a television and your cell phone out of your bedroom.

Try Meditating

You can increase your chances of having a restful night by incorporating meditation and breathing exercises before falling asleep. When you are having problems sleeping, try repeating a mantra with your eyes closed, and while lying in bed. You can say any phrase to yourself that brings you calm and peace. Even better, pair your meditation with your breathing. Try breathing in for a count of four seconds, holding for one second, and then exhaling for a count of four seconds. These techniques can calm anxiety and provide insomnia relief.

Ride It Out

Try to limit the amount of time spent walking around or out of bed when you do wake to insomnia. Instead of getting up to get something to eat or kill time on your computer, ride it out with your eyes closed in bed. This discipline will help to retrain your brain to get back to sleep when it wakes up.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you are having difficulties falling asleep, or staying asleep, be sure to talk to your doctor. Your oncologist can give you more tips and referrals to find the best way to rest.

A great doctor can help you find the best way to improve your sleep.

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Haley Burress
Haley Burress