Sleep gives our brains a chance to refresh, boosts our immune function, and influences the release of hormones we need to regulate our systems. It's so important to our health that we literally can't survive without it. This is why fostering good sleep is an important part of nurturing our physical health.
If you have breast cancer, there may be a number of obstacles to getting sound sleep. In addition to the potential stress of the experience itself, insomnia is a reported side effect of some of the medications used in treatment, including tamoxifen. This can make good hygiene even more important.
No simple tip can promise to resolve all sleep problems, but here are a few practices that can play a role in your overall sleep strategy.
Studies show that a slight drop in body temperature can signal your body that it's time to sleep. Opinions vary on the best temperature to keep your bedroom, but most sleep authorities agree that taking a hot bath or shower 90 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime can steer your body toward sleep as it cools.
Try reducing the amount of light in the room during the hours before bed. The sleep-inducing chemical melatonin is released late in the evening, but only if it receives the right cues from the environment. Too much light can impede the natural process. Some experts recommend sitting in a dimply lit room for 30 minutes before bed. Others suggest using a dimmer switch or timer to gradually decrease the light during the two hours leading to bedtime.
Speaking of light, the light that's most detrimental to your sleep is from electronic devices. The stimulus from mobile phones, tablets, computers and other gadgets has been proven to deeply disrupt the ability to fall asleep and to sleep deeply. Reducing electronics use well before bedtime can improve your chance of sound sleep.
In fact, reduction is the key thing to remember when trying to improve your sleep. In the final hours before bed, begin reducing light, noise levels, food intake and activity as much as possible while letting your body temperature cool slightly. This will best set the stage for slumber.
May 13 - 19, 2018 is National Women's Health Week. Carolina Breast Friends is marking the week by publishing simple tips that can help you and your loved ones improve wellness. Check our social media pages and the news section of this site for pointers to wellness tips. Find us on Facebook.
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