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Can't Sleep?

You would hope that if you are constantly fatigued sleep would come easily. Many people with advanced cancer say it does not always work that way. They have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep (also called insomnia) and do not feel rested if they do manage to sleep.

It is normal to have problems sleeping during this challenging time in your life. Difficulty sleeping may be caused by fear and worry about cancer and treatment, side-effects from treatment, and being less active during the day.

Sleep is an important part of the healing process and not being able to do so can be distressing. If you can’t sleep within 30 minutes of going to bed, get up and do something not too stimulating (eg. quiet reading, listen to music) until you feel sleepy again. “Clock watching” may cause more distress and contribute to not sleeping.

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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.

Last updated 30 August 2015