Managing sleep patterns

Managing sleep patterns

Managing sleep patterns Does anyone have any tried and tested methods for improving sleep patterns during chemotherapy?

Given that I had a poor sleep pattern, ( early waking, unable to go all night without waking and worrying) about my redundancy ( see profile) before I got the BC diagnosis, I did not get off to a good start.

I had the 6th Chemo yesterday ( 4 Taxol then 4 EC in total) and the dexamethazone, which is so necessary to control nausea, is making sleep all but impossible - I managed 2 hours catnaps between 2.30am amd 4 .30am last night. Even after the dexamethazone has stopped, I am not managing a single night’s good, uninterrupted sleep at any time in each chemo cycle, and am totally fed up with either not being able to get to sleep at all, or waking again, somtimes even within 1 hour, then almost every hur for the rest of the night. I ahve discussed this previsouly wiht the Onc team, and they just say they are reluctant to Px anything

I do not think hot baths before bedtime will work, as I’m also having hot flushes, and only sleeping with 1 sheet and 1 blanket.

I am also diabetic, mostly controlled by diet, which means NO sugar, so cannot use the Horlicks and biscuit before bed idea either.

I have used sleep cones in the past, and these have worked , even on long- haul flights, and am wondering about trying them again, unless anyone has any other ideas?



relaxation cd’s Hi,

I also have a terrible time sleeping. I fall asleep easily but wake up several times. I have discovered a big improvement using relaxation hypnosis CD’s. You can get them from waterstones or alternative therapy shops and no doublt on the internet. I find they have helped reduce my anxiety levels. I also visited my local cancer counselling centre and had a session of hypnosis - I was very cynical at first but felt incredibly calm for a couple of days after each - the best I have felt since diagnosis. I also put lavender oil on my pillow before listening to help me associate the smell with relaxing.
Hope this helps.

Photolady i was never nauseous during chemo so GRADUALLY cut down on the DM which helped-less nights constant waking.
Was cautious because once nausea starts it goes on.
Don’t know if this is any good for you- waking up on the hour every hour is beastly. Hope you crack the nasty prob, dilly

hi Photolady

just wanted to say I can totally sympathise with you, and sorry to say I have no real answer.s For me I had to resort to sleeping pills. I tried every trick under the sun but to no avail until i was explaining to my sons health visitor one day how bad the situation was which basically was “I was not sleeping at all” anyway she organised a short term supply which did work but for me but i could not be using them often as i have a young toddler and I am on my own with him a lot. It is not a nice situation to be in.

Have you tried any relaxation methods ? I know they are not for everyone but for some people they do work and I must admit after my chemo I was gave a relaxation c.d. which i tried (although highly sceptical ) but I was stunned at the way it put me into a highly relaxed state, I wished i had known about it earlier. Mayble worth a try.

Hope things settle out for you.


Update on sleep problems Hi girls

Thanks for all the sympathy- I tried a relaxation CD for 3 nights, on 2 occasions it was overtaken by OH snoring so not much success there.!
I have actually had an ongoing problem sisnce last July, so have more to deal with than (just!) the chemo side- effects.
Yesterday I reached the end of my patience, gave in and went to see my GP, who has reviewed all my history, and now prescribed medication to help me establish a proper sleep pattern again, which is not a sleeping pill, but wil take time to succeed.
After 1 night, when I did still wake but then went back to sleep again, several times, I am feeling relieved that something is now being done to help… that alone helps a lot!

Once again, thanks for yout help, I don’t know how I would cope without this website, bless you all


Update on sleep problems Hi Photolady

Really pleased that GP is helping to establish a good sleep pattern for you.

I have not slept well since diagnosis and treatment (2004) and I am really curious to know what your Gp is trying with you, as I have tried lots of different things without much success.

Love Lesley xx

Update for Darby Hi Lesley

I was not going to go into details , but since you asked, here goes!

The treatment I am having is dosulepin, ( which used to be known as dothiepin) It used to be prescribed for the managment of depression and anxiety over 30 years ago, and ironically was one of the first drugs I sold as a medical representative in the 70s!
It has always been noted to have a beneficial effect on disturbed sleep patterns, and that is why my GP has decided to give it to me, in view of the fact that I have had a poor sleep pattern since July 2006.
I guess any other effects of calming and lifting depression will not go amiss, given my current situation ( see profile ) . It is not habit forming, and patients have no trouble ending a course of treatment, unlike some other medications. Of course, there needs to be an agreement between the GP and patient, and we are agreed that he will monitor me on a monthly basis , and that I may need it for up to 6 months.

If you do decide to discuss this with your GP, let me know how you get on

Good Luck


Update for Darby Hi Photolady

Thank you for the information I will let you know if I decide to take this up with my GP I really hope it works for you keep us posted!!!

Love Lesley xx