Insomnia is a fairly common sleep problem for those with cancer. “Insomnia is the experience of having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night. It may cause you problems during the day, such as tiredness, low energy, poor concentration, and irritability.”1
Insomnia or sleep disruption is also a common side effect of many medications, such as statins. Before pursuing treatments for sleep disruption, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of your prescription medications may contribute to sleep disruption and whether adjustments can be made.
The disruption of good sleep can decrease your ability to cope and lead to feeling isolated.
Managing Sleep Disruption
Several complementary approaches can help with sleep disruption. The Society for Integrative Oncology clinical practice guidelines list integrative therapies with evidence for usefulness in sleep disruption:2
- Mind-body approaches such as these:
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- Relaxation training
Integrative Plans, Protocols and Medical Systems
|For more information about plans and protocols, see our Integrative Plans and Protocols page.|
- Plans, protocols and programs
- Abrams & Weil integrative medicine approaches7
- Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches8
- Block program9
- Traditional systems
Written by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS, and reviewed by Nancy Hepp, MS; most recent update on October 19, 2018.
- Our summary on sleeping well, describing an integrative approach to managing insomnia and restoring healthy sleep/rest biorhythms
- Lone Star Medical Group: Insomnia
- SIO clinical practice guidelines:
- Deng GE, Frenkel M et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology. 2009 Summer;7(3):85-120.
- Deng GE, Rausch SM et al. Complementary therapies and integrative medicine in lung cancer: diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2013 May;143(5 Suppl):e420S-e436S.
- Greenlee H, DuPont-Reyes MJ et al. Clinical practice guidelines on the evidence-based use of integrative therapies during and after breast cancer treatment. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2017 May 6;67(3):194-232.
- Lorenzo Cohen and Alison Jefferies: Anticancer Living: Transform Your Life and Health with the Mix of Six
- Michael Lerner: Choices In Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer
- Keith I. Block, MD: Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment
- Martin L. Rossman, MD: The Healing Mind
- Donald I. Abrams, MD, and Andrew T. Weil, MD: Integrative Oncology, 2nd Edition
- American Society of Clinical Oncology: Cancer.Net
- Wayne Jonas, MD: Your Healing Journey: A Patient’s Guide to Integrative Breast Cancer Care
- September 2018 Issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine