If you are struggling with chemotherapy, surgery or radiation for your cancer, or the side-effects from chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, getting a full night’s sleep may be a low priority on your list of cancer therapies. But it shouldn’t be. A growing number of studies cite sleep as critical to mental health.
Everyone should get about 8 hours of sleep each night. This is difficult for some people without cancer and extremely difficult for those of us with cancer. The article below provides 8 natural ways to get a better sleep.
From personal experience, I can recommend five of these.
1) I take 1 mg of Melatonin 2-3 times a week. I take a Melatonin capsule 1-2 hours before I want to hit the sack and sure enough, I get sleepier and sleepier- the supplement makes me want to go to bed. Studies show that melatonin fights cancer.
2) Studies show that Magnesium helps you sleep and a specific type of magnesium called “L-threonate” may slow cognitive decline. I supplement with LEF Magnesium L-threonate
3) My wife and caregiver bought me a small spray bottle of Lavender as a Christmas present. I spritz a bit of Lavender each night on my pillow. I can’t cite any studies but the Lavender relaxes me and I drop off pretty quickly.
4) I can’t speak to yoga or meditation but I exercise moderately six days each week. Not a huge workout but enough to get my heart rate up for 20-30 minutes. This site is full of studies documenting the anti-cancer benefits of exercise. The exercise relaxes me, helps me manage my weight and helps me sleep too.
5) I take a Green Tea Extract supplement each day. I do this primarily for it’s documented anti-mm benefits but green tea contains L-theanine too.
6) I take L-theanine too.
A common side effect of Cytoxan therapy is hemorrhagic cystitis aka irritable bladder. My irritable bladder used to wake me 4 times each night and since I’ve been working on my sleep I’m down to waking 1-2 times each night. I get 7-8 hours each night during the week and 8-9 hours of sleep Fri and Sat nights. I believe these sleep remedies help me sleep better and longer.
For more information about both integrative and non-conventional cancer therapies, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
“Before you rush to the drugstore to buy an over-the-counter sleep medication, try one of the following natural sleep remedies. They are safer and have fewer side effects. Many of these can not only help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but they can also promote muscle relaxation.
Magnesium and calcium- Magnesium and calcium are both sleep boosters, and when taken together they become even more effective. Plus, by taking magnesium you cancel out any potential heart problems that might arise from taking calcium alone. Take 200 milligrams of magnesium (you can lower the dose if it causes diarrhea) and 600 milligrams of calcium each night.
Wild lettuce- If you’ve suffered anxiety, headaches, or muscle or joint pain, you might already be familiar with wild lettuce. It’s also effective at calming restlessness and reducing anxiety, and may even quell restless legs syndrome. When using a wild-lettuce supplement, take 30 to 120 milligrams before bed.
Hops- Beer fans are already familiar with the calming effect of hops, the female flowers used in beer making. For sleep purposes, this extract has been widely used as a mild sedative for anxiety and insomnia. Take 30 to 120 milligrams before climbing under the covers.
Aromatherapy- Lavender is the trick here, as studies have proven that it aids in sleep. It’s also an inexpensive, nontoxic way to slip into a peaceful slumber. Find a spray with real lavender and spritz it on your pillow before bedtime, or buy a lavender-filled pillow.
Melatonin- Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep, so it’s no wonder that it naturally induces sleep. Studies show that lower doses are more effective — plus, there’s concern that too-high doses could cause toxicity as well as raise the risk of depression or infertility.
Yoga and Meditation- Choose gentle yoga or stretching, not vigorous power or ashtanga yoga, which could energize you instead. Try easy yoga stretches in bed followed by simple meditation. Close your eyes and, for 5 to 10 minutes, pay attention to nothing but your breathing.
L-theanine- This amino acid comes from green tea, and not only helps maintain a calm alertness during the day but also a deeper sleep at night. However, green tea doesn’t contain enough L-theanine to significantly boost your REM cycles and might make you wake up to go to the bathroom. Instead, buy pure, active L-theanine (some brands have inactive forms of theanine that block the effectiveness), and take 50 to 200 milligrams at bedtime.
Valerian- Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies for insomnia. Numerous studies have found that valerian improves deep sleep, the speed of falling asleep, and overall quality of sleep. However, it’s most effective when used over a longer period of time. Keep in mind that about 10 percent of the people who use it actually feel energized, which may keep them awake. If that happens to you, take valerian during the day. Otherwise, take 200 to 800 milligrams before bed.