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Articles in Category: Sleep

Reducing Cancer Fatigue with Exercise and Therapy

New study shows that drugs are not as effective at treating CRF

Reducing Cancer Fatigue with Exercise and Therapy
Published Tuesday, 09 May 2017

One of the most common symptoms of cancer treatments is fatigue. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy can feel exhausted and heavy, with little to no desire to join in everyday activities. This type of fatigue oftentimes cannot be cured by simply getting more sleep. A report by The JAMA Network released in early March revealed that non-drug treatments such as exercise or psychotherapy are more effective for reducing cancer-related-fatigue (CRF) than pharmaceutical solutions.

  • The JAMA Network’s report analyzed 113 individual studies monitoring over 11,500 unique participants, in order to determine which treatment – exercise, psychological, the combination of exercise and psychological, and pharmaceutical – normally recommended for CRF is most effective.
  • Exercise and psychological treatments, as well as the combination of the two, reduced fatigue by 26 to 30 percent during and after cancer treatment.
  • Pharmaceutical treatments were only seen to reduce fatigue by 9 percent.
  • The authors of the study urge doctors to prescribe exercise or psychological interventions as first-line treatments for CRF.
  • The main author of the study, Dr. Karen Mustian of the University of Rochester Medical Center, says that the exercise therapy doesn’t necessarily have to be intense or vigorous. Most of the studies analyzed included walking and resistance training exercises. Also, the psychological treatment does not only mean structured therapy appointments with a counselor, but can also include group sessions and actively practicing mindfulness.

This report demonstrates that pharmaceutical treatments should no longer be the go-to prescription for patients dealing with CRF. Physical activity and psychological therapy can often do more to help reduce this fatigue than drugs or caffeine, even if they do not always seem like the easiest solutions.

Dr. Mustian in an interview said, “While our knee-jerk reactions might be to retreat, and to rest, and for caretakers to be very protective…actually encouraging [cancer patients] to be more active, asking them to get up and go for a 10-minute walk and walking with them – those kinds of things can make some of the most drastic positive impacts in the entire experience that someone would have with cancer.”

Read more about the report and real life success stories here

Better sleep habits

Published Wednesday, 03 February 2016

A late bedtime is actually better than a full night of sleep with interruptions. New study: Adults who had a delayed bedtime experienced only a 12% reduction in positive mood versus 31% in those who were awakened several times during the night. Explanation: The interrupted sleepers had less slow-wave sleep, the type that leaves you feeling restored and rested.

Sound Sleep Advice

Published Saturday, 12 September 2015

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following advices are recommended:

1. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.

2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine.

Foods that help you sleep

Published Friday, 17 July 2015

Try having one of these snacks one hour before bedtime. Kiwis are rich in serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Cheese and whole-wheat-crackers contain 80% carbohydrates and 20% protein, the best ratio for boosting serotonin. But skip aged cheeses, such as Parmesan—they have an amino acid that can raise levels of stimulating chemicals. Tart cherry juice contains high levels of the hormone melatonin, which may help you sleep longer and more soundly.

Poor sleep linked to dementia

Published Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sleep apnea and other sleep problems that interfere with breathing affect almost one in five men and one in 10 women older than 50. According to a recent examination of the brains of deceased older men, those with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea had a higher risk of brain lesions linked to dementia, report researchers from the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System. The likely culprits: low blood-oxygen levels and less time spent in restorative, deep sleep. Speak with your doctor if you have signs of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring and gasping for breath during sleep.

Better Ways!

Published Saturday, 21 February 2015

Better bedtime reading. Adult volunteers who used electronic readers or tablets, such as iPads, for four hours before bedtime had a harder time falling asleep…got less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep…and felt less alert and rested the next morning than when they spent the same amount of time reading a printed book. Why: Tablets emit blue light directly into the reader’s eyes, which can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt the circadian clock.

Sleep and Alzheimer's

Published Saturday, 24 January 2015

A long-term study of initially healthy 65-year-olds found that those who slept the least (about five hours or less without waking) tended to have fewer neurons (brain cells) in a part of the brain that controls sleep. Also: Many in the study who developed Alzheimer’s disease were those who had fewer neurons and less sleep. To protect your brain: Keep neurons healthy with good sleep habits, and seek treatment if you suspect you may have a sleep disorder.

Did you know that catch-up sleep helps stave off diabetes?

Published Friday, 06 September 2013

In a recent study, according to Peter Liu, PhD, principal investigator, from the biomedical research institute, showed that a group of 19 non-diabetic men who usually sleep about six hours a night during the week spent three days in a sleep lab where they slept 10 hours every night, their insulin sensitivity improved, lowering their risk for type 2 diabetes. Regular sleep just like good eating habits, keeps insulin levels balanced. If you get less than seven hours of sleep a night during the week, plan to get more.

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