Sleeping Well (2/2)

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Improving your sleep quality is one step you can take to improve your resilience and well-being. It may possibly improve your response to treatment, also.

Integrative Therapies to Improve Sleep Quality

While both conventional and complementary options are available, a 2009 review found that behavioral therapies maintain longer-term improvement in sleep quality compared to pharmaceuticals.62

Conventional Approaches

In conventional medicine, insomnia and sleep disruption are often treated with sleep medications which may help temporarily but don’t address the underlying cause, can be habit-forming and may even increase risks of death from a variety of causes including overdose, infections, cancer, depression and suicide, hypnotic-withdrawal insomnia, and automobile crashes, falls, and other accidents.6364

Natural Products

Evidence of effectiveness is summarized on the linked therapy summaries.

Mind-Body Approaches

Evidence of effectiveness is summarized on the linked therapy summaries.

Manipulative and Body-based Methods

Evidence of effectiveness is summarized on the linked therapy summaries.

Diets Metabolic Therapies

  • 14 straight hours of fasting each day

Special Guidance for People with Cancer

Integrative oncologist and BCCT advisor Keith Block, MD, and his colleagues offer guidance to promote normal circadian (sleep-rest) function among people in chemotherapy treatment, with advanced disease, or experiencing wasting (cachexia).75

 

Dietary Guidelines

  • Increase caloric and nutritional density of diet: use calorically dense foods, including healthful concentrated carbohydrate sources, lower dietary fiber, and increased proteins (including fish, egg whites, l-glutamine, chlorella supplements, and whey protein)
  • Increase intake of omega-3 rich oils, medium-chain triglyceride oil, and to a lesser extent, omega-6 rich oils
  • Adjust meal schedule to a grazing pattern of 6-8 meals daily
  • Shift largest meal of the day to breakfast, when appetite may be best
  • Supplement with whey protein, soy protein, and medium-chain triglyceride shakes
  • For wasting (cachexia), use anti-inflammatory supplements (curcumin, fish oil, boswellia, scutellaria)

Exercise Guidelines

  • Reduce aerobic exercise emphasis
  • Emphasize interval training (repeated short sessions of aerobic-type exercise)
  • Emphasize strength or resistance training (use light weights or isometrics; short sessions repeated several times daily)
  • Emphasize systems such as yoga, Pilates, qi gong, or tai chi that increase flexibility
  • Do not overexercise, because this produces inflammation and increases cortisol

 

Addressing Inflammation

Reducing inflammation in cancer patients with integrative therapies has improved fatigue.

Cautions

Mind-body approaches to helping with insomnia are generally considered safe.

If you decide to take natural products to assist with sleep, consult with your pharmacist or healthcare provider to see if any contraindications, side effects or drug-herb or herb-herb interactions arise. Let your cancer care team know if you are taking any natural products such as herbs or supplements.

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Credits

This article has been taken from Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies.

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