Insomnia anyone? Going nuts!

Started treatment sept last year, mx,chemo, rads, implant, finished in july.

Struggling so much with insomnia. How can I be so tired and unable to sleep? On antidepressants, sleeping tablets, meditation, ear plugs, herbal tea etc etc

Don’t know if it’s chemo fatigue or insomnia which is making me so shattered - combo of both, I’m sure.

Any tips very very welcome from busy 48 year old mum of 2!!!

Hi I didn’t have chemo or rads but developed chronic insomnia not long after starting Letrozole in March and like you tried pills ets plus mindfulness. Only thing that really works for me is listening to audio books very low on my IPod. It helps me drift off and I find I don’t toss and turn and stress about being awake.   There’s loads of choice on iTunes and some very low prices.  I find listening to music doesn’t work for me.  You can download Audible to your phone as well. Apologies if you have already tried this but it has done the trick for me.  All the best


I had chemotherapy followed by rads and I too suffer from insomnia on a fairly regular basis. It is maddening when you can’t get to sleep and it must be awful if you have to get up to go to work as well. I find that listening to music does help but it has to be classical. Sometimes I just get up, make a cup of tea and read a ‘lovely homes’ type magazine for a while and then after that I manage to nod off.  You could also try putting a lavendar bag under your pillow, using a hot water bottle and wearing bedsocks.

Hello I have been moved to look on the forum after dreadful insomnia recently. I am hoping to sleep tonight as I have been awake for 37 hours straight and am looking for a way forward. I have had 2 nights in the last 5 with either no sleep at all or very little light sleep. This is getting progressively worse since Istarted Letrozole at the beginning of September. I wondered if it was the Letrozole so thought I’d check what others might be saying. See it’s not just me. I am struggling with all aromatase inhibitors due to chronic joint pain aggravated by arthritis. I started with Anastrazole in 2013 then Exemastane for 9months and now Letrozole. I take paracetamol 4 times a day plus anti inflammatories. My BCN said ‘please don’t say Letrozole is giving you the same side effects’ at my last oncology appt as she said my oncologist would be disappointed ! Glad they’re so concerned about how I feel. I know I have to stick with the AIs as I am ER+ but without sleep on top of everything else I am struggling. The last night with no sleep left me with a raging migraine after work and I have had to take time off work this week. I work pretty much full time in a stressful education job. sorry for the rant everyone but I am rather at my wits end. I share your pain riversidedawn catokitty and feistyflora and will perhaps try something via earphones to help. I read before bed and do yoga relaxation exercises to help prepare for sleep but to no avail. am considering putting the Letrozole in the bin but know in my heart of hearts that won’t help long term. I am also going to look at herbal remedies and poss a gp appt to get a fresh view on things. Perhaps I should go back to Exemastane as that didn’t give me insomnia.
Good luck tonight everyone. Sorry to moan. Will be thinking of you X

I’ve had a 2 month self imposed break from Tamoxifen and tried 2 different sleeping tablets but still no joy! I normally sleep for 2 hours then struggle to get back off to sleep. It’s so debilitating. I’ve been looking into foods that naturally increase melatonin levels but find that difficult to fit in with family meals so eating in addition… Not good for chemo waistline!

Thanks for antihistamine tip at jobey68. Will give it a go!

Hi all, we should all link up in the night, maybe a good chat we might then drift up. I am taking anastrozole and must admit my sleep was never good bevore diagnosed,  but now worse and sooooo hot.  Sometimes I  take my tablet up and watch programmes with ear phones,  which doesn’t disturb my oh.  Failing that, get up make a cup of tea and envisage winning the lottery.   Lol to all, we are not alone xxxxxxxxx

Hi girls just wanted to report some positive news… I went to a pharmacist in desperation after my last post and was recommended Dormeasan valerian drops. I take 30 drops in water half an hour before bed and so far this week I have had better sleep than I have had for weeks. Might be worth a try. Thinking of you all X

Well, I’ve found another club., that I’ve have spates of belonging to !!!1. Good morning to you all. I’t’s terribly dbilitating isn’t it.Worse for you having to work, get the kids sorted and out the door.


Riverside, Did you say you take your meds at night, did you say your “antidepressant” and your sleeping tablet at night an hour before ?? Some antidepressants can DISTURB your sleep so are better taken in the morning. 

Anti-histamines are reknowned for making you sleepy, same with travel sickness tablets. If so, why don’t they make sleeping tablets from the ingredient that causes their sleepiness ?? (I’m not a tablet lover so resist taking any but that’s just me, though sometimes I wished I could pop a pill and zonk out).  Tv put on timer often does it for me, I choose something comedy, Dave channel or a romcom, anything that’s lighthearted and not noisy, aggressive, disturbing content.


If it’s anxiety and worry that’s keeping you awake.There are some excellent HYPNOTHERAPY SLEEP or MEDITATION cds, (Don’t know if you can get them on a “Download”). Regular use of these basically retrains your mind in how to relax into sleep. I often fall asleep part way through. Some of them teach you how to self hypnotise so that again, with REGULAR practice, you’re not having to use discman/phone earplugs, which can wake you up with tangled wires etc. If you have a sound system in your bedroom even better. Both hypnotherapy/meditation use similar techniques which once you’ve mastered you can then use for other times of the day to relax your “MIND MUSCLE” without having to listen. “Mindfulness” is just like hypno and meditation.

Anything you use, listening wise has got to be soothing gentle music, a soothing hypno’s voice that transports you to a beautiful quiet peaceful beach  mmmmmmmm       zzzzzzzzzzzzz. !!


But if your meds are all part of the reason you’re not sleeping, then just try changing the time of day you take them. Hot flushes are often my bain of poor sleep too, can wake up wet through. Must be even worse when you’ve someone next to you


I sometimes also use DORMEASAN - a NATURAL herbal liquid sometimes. For anyone like me, that doesn’t like taking medication/tabs, Anything with VALERIAN in is supposed to be good. Its in the Nightol type tablets. But Dormeasan has a higher % + hops. 

What about a warm bath, with soothing music, dimmed lights/candles, glass of red or even better Amontidildo SHERRY  (very good for you - fortifying, gives you a warm glow, and excellent before bed if you suffer with cold feet/circulation. I used to advise it to my Chilblain patients along with bedsocks. Cold feet keep you awake !!) Yes the spelling was intentional !

To any SMOKERS, ( guilty afraid - shameful Delly ), smoking late at night can also prevent you from sleeping also because like caffeine, it’s a stimulant. Sitting on the laptop, I’m the worst, so need to find a substitute for my fingers and mouth to use, an E-cig or something.


I was only thinking, the other day NIGHT, early hours, it’d be good to have a “night shift” posts. I’m often on the “Just Diagnosed Needing Someone to talk to” thread/section all hours of the night/mornin. It’s so busy during the day, I can’t keep up with it all so if I’m up all hours, I can catch up with everybody without fast and furious posts coming in, whilst all the L’il Darlins are tucked up in bed - QUIET !!  The Cancer Care Buddies has a Nightbirds section that I often used to use last year before  joining this more specific BC forum.


Riversidedawn - We’ve mentioned Tamifen to each other before. I wasn’t menopausal at the time, so hot flushes wrecking my sleep  and DEPRESSION were the two reasons I chose not to take it. My depression at that time literally INSTANTLY lifted. So I was prepared to take my chances, preferring to be in a better frame of mind and quality of life. I went into “natural” menopause 3 yrs later so have “hot flushes” to contend with waking me up sometimes. Am seriously thinking about Acupuncture to see if that may help balance out the hormones. But I need to make sure they are an expert one, not just “PLAYING AT IT” and wasting my money !! Try the other things I’ve mentioned. With you, it’s about sourcing what’s waking you up 2-3 hrs when you’ve dropped off okay and finding means and methods to counteract those. Maybe your joint pain when you unconsciously move in your sleep or whatever. Try any of the things I’ve mentioned, the liquid or Nightol ??   BUT. . . try taking your anti D’s in the morning they can disturb sleep, I’ve had it with them on the odd occasion I’ve taken 'em and it’s also listed in the side effects.


Southcoast girl - That’s tough for you, if you already had arthritis and that’s ALSO being more aggravated by your meds. Do you take your Para’s before you retire to bed ?? In case it’s joint pain from unconsciously moving in your sleep 

Whereabouts are you? I lived in Bournemouth for 17 yrs, spent 3 yrs at Plymouth Uni, often holidayed in Devon from being a young kid when we oroginall y lived in the North. Salcombe was our most favourite place in England ever. I still have it mind to scatter my Mum, Dads and Bruvs (all mixed up in two boxes) there. Maybe next Spring now I’m feeling mentally stronger again + despite it being a very sad reason to go, it’ll be a real treat to have a couple of days somewhere I adore. -So incredibly beautiful, and walk the coastal paths again.Full of happy childhood memories and from later years with Mum. I also had to spent time staying at Lympstone nr Exmouth/Exeter, on the River Ex, Goergeous little place where my bruv had lived his last 3 years, prior to his suicide and had his rented property, affairs and belongings to sort. Awful thing to have to do, as it was also after Mum. But i made friends down there who I keep in touch with and have since been down to visit. I need a nice little campervan really so I’m not putting myself/depending on someone’s hospitality. Freedom to get up go whenever, whereever.


Feisty - HAHA, like your style with the sweeties. And although i don’t have a sweet tooth  but whenever I do have the odd urge, I DO like my hard gelly gums - all of which have gelatine in 'em. So I ALL for trying that one -yumyumyum.  They’re also very good for your nails too, containing a particular protein that’s required for maintaining nails and keeps them from being brittle. I had to study nails structure in my Podiatry Degree training so It’s a genuine fact and not that I have shares in the companies that make them. Although having said that and having now “Highly recommended” them, I think I ought to !!! Will do some research into SWEETIE companies !!  H*R*BO  and  M*YN*RDS !!


HOT FLUSHES sufferers - if you use a duvet and don’t already - try going back to using a flat sheet between you and the duvet cover that way you can still have a very thin covering on top of you without then waking up freezing when you’ve cooled down again. PLUS it stops your actual duvet from being directly constantly soiled from nightsweats. AND I’ve gone on to these “Cool” type nighties, still has to be cotton for me but Marksies do cotton based ones that are also cooler somehow. 


Have been slowly working my way your posts from their beginnings, so someone’s beaten me to it with DORMEASAN drops - Yeh, it’s good, works for me. Have used them /it the last couple of years. WELL WORTH TRYING. Am now going to see if THEY have SHARES going too ! with the now impeding sudden rapid rise in sales they’re going to have after these messages  - hee !!


I’m wishing us all plenty of good nights zzzzzz but will set up a night shift post, for anyone to chat, have a rant, boohoo, discuss our probs. Shall we call it NIGHTBIRDS - apt cos we’re all “birds” ain’t we,as in the 60’s female sense. I’ll just spend some time thinking/looking into where the best place to put it would be. But I’ll do that now whilst I ‘m hot on it and remember. I’ve already had to write it down !! to keep it on my mind, case I forget or easily distracted. Yeh yeh, Anno Domini +  long list of other stuff to keep working through at mo’. Forget what I’ve got up from the sofa to do sometimes, not just the top or bottom of the stairs. You may well laugh you younger lot - itl’ll  finally come to you too - mark my words 


Lotsa love to you all Delly  xxxx

<Empty imported post>

“NIGHT BIRDS” - the  insomniacs corner now offically posted under


" Living with Breast Cancer "


Well I had to go ahead and do it whilst I was sitting here and could STILL remember what I was doing here !!! and I don’t even have the excuse of “chemo” brain.  I’ll thank you to save your cheeky comments to yourselves - OKAY !! See you there - unless I’ve fallen asleep that is - Ha bloomin Ha  

Delly dingdong xxxx

Well this is great, well done. My lack of sleep gives me time to have everything running through my head and then it just gets worse.  I go and make tea and sit in bed thoroughly enkoying it, love tea, but doesn’t always help me drift off.  I  have never been a good sleeper but I think now taking anestrozol has made it worse.  The hot flushes are evil, but as you suggested using a sheet, I have always found it a saviour.  So, great that we can pop in here and enjoy a chat. Xx

Pandorra - WHOOOOHOOOO, our first respondent !! Congratulations - As the FIRST customer - you’ve won a FREE voucher that knocks you out solidly for 8 hrs, to completely recharge so you can carry on partying into the late hours of tomorrow again. Who needs sleep anyway ?? Very over estimated. Look at Maggie Thatcher - she THRIVED on 4-5 hrs a night. PLEEASE DON’T bring your political views into what I’ve just said.


I had an amazing sleep last night. -TDO rouble is, it’s recharged me sooo much I’m now raring to go through another night shift. BUT I need to learn and re-educate my sleep patterns again.

Like you,  I too am a tea swiller - takes me SLUUURPING at least three mugs of a morning to gently but noisily ( due to the sluuurping ) bring myself round. In fact also like YOUHOO - at anytime. Loverrrrrly stuff. Shame about the caffeine effect but I actually sometimes find if I wake up during the night, a cup o’ tea (and shamedly a cancer stick -yeh I know, I need to knock hat one on the head)  can put me back to sleep again.


Let’s make this a place to let rip, get ,off our chests what’s getting on our T*Ts,  (Ha - sorry some,  us like me,  don’t have any which only makes it funnier to me - I quite like taking the ‘P’  out of myself AND this disease especially - makes it more bearable !!)   So we then  feel more like sleeping 'cos we’ve had friends to share our probs with, rant/sob to. And/or a place of fun, so we feel even more like sleeeeeeping 'cos we’re in a better, happier frame of mind having had a giggle.  Yes / No ?? x


What do you all think ?? Well that’s what i’m gonna do - whether you lot like it or not

Loadsa love Doolally xxx 

Feisty - the spelling was intentional - yes honestly. Had the desired effect ey? x  And just WHAT are you doing coming on here at 5.00 PM ?? !! 

Where are you all?? I’ve got the party ready and waiting on our now official

“The Night Birds” on Living Beyond Breast Cancer / Living with breast cancer.

Doolally Delly xx

Well Delly, last night I went to bed at my usual time (as recommended by sleep experts). Tried to settle down but my finger was throbbing due to a small paper cut - got up to put antiseptic cream and a plaster on it. Back into bed, indigestion started - got up and had a dose of Gaviscon. Back into bed, wrist hurting - got up and took a paracetamol.  Back into bed, earache began - got up to put warm olive oil in ear - downstairs anway so made myself a drink plus one for hubby and carried them back upstairs. Back into bed, tried reading for a bit then laid down - garage alarm went off (drat those mice) - went downstairs to reset said alarm. Back into bed but by then needed a wee - trotted to bathroom and back. Back into bed but by then the hurricane strength wind had arrived, howling round the chimney and rattling the door knocker. Aaaaaargh!

Hi Everyone,

Well, I don’t know what planet I was on, on the 18th, I think it was more “what page was I on”  as I had 3 pages open. One to reply, one on "nsomniacs and one on Night Birds.   and mistakedly thought Pandorra was the first “Night Birds” customer but was actually on Insomniacs so  my post went on insomniacs! ‘I’ know what I’m talking about if no-one else but then that’s not unusual !! 


Awwwww - Feisty. what a bloomin awful night. But it still doesn’t explain why your post was 5.00 P.M. ??!

Anyhow, i was up till early hours again - l o n e l y  and  l-o-o-p-y. It seems - I stay up all night and thru the next day - then crash around 9.30/10 p.m. Have a full deep 8 hrs and am revved up again so end up staying up on this machine to do another all night and next day. So I’m due for another early night CRASH again tonight. Just so you know if I’m not around.

Riversidedawn - and everyone. Now I’ve set it up, are we not so bothered about “Night Birds” ?? Do you think we should ask to have it combined as "Insomniacs - Come join the Night Birds ??? 

It was the most beautifully clear sky last night and I pulled back the bedroom curts this morn to see SNOW on them there Derbyshire 'ills - gorgeous Blue Sky Day all day. Padded trousers, padded jacket and divvy hat (I look a numpty in hats but I was SNUG so don’t care - laugh all you like !)


Hope you’re all doing okay and having a good weekend 

Doolally xxx