Sleep Disturbances

You Spoke…We Listened

Sleep disturbances – when you have difficulty sleeping at night which results in impairment during the day. It is estimated that up to 20% of the general population have disturbed sleep and as many as 60% of those with cancer.

You Spoke:

We asked participants in the Ependymoma Outcomes Project to report the severity (on a scale of 0 or “not present’ to 10 “as severe as one can imagine”). Overall, 30% rated this as moderate to severe (5 or higher). Both people with ependymoma involving the brain and spine reported difficulty sleeping.

We Listened:

The following is some helpful information on the most common sleep disturbance, insomnia.

Ways To Manage Insomnia

Recognize it

  • Complaints of difficulty initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, or waking up too early
  • Sleep difficulty occurs despite adequate opportunities for sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Difficulty interacting with others or completing work
  • Irritability
  • Decreased motivation
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headache or problems with stomach or bowels
  • Worries about sleep

Identify causes

Often, there are other things that impact the person’s ability to sleep. Work with your physician to identify and treat underlying causes. Examples include excessive caffeine, stress, sleep apnea, pain, or side effects of medications like steroids.

Ways to help you sleep

  • Use fixed bed and wake times
  • Relax before going to bed
  • Avoid clock-watching
  • 20 minute ‘toss and turn’ rule (If you aren’t asleep in 20 minutes, get out of bed and do another relaxing activity for 20 minutes then try to go to sleep again)
  • Avoid daytime naps
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine within six hours of going to bed
  • Exercise regularly but not within 20 minutes of going to sleep

Be sure to discuss any symptoms you have with your health care provider!

Below are some additional websites that provide more detailed information on sleep disturbance:

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