There is no question the quality of sleep affects the quality of life. Even for those in relatively good health, tossing and turning and general lack of deep sleep can have negative impacts at school or work.
Deep sleep, after all, is considered the regenerative portion of sleep that helps restore the mind and body. Without it, or without sufficient levels of it, it is not difficult to see how the body can be negatively affected.
It is also easy to understand how illness can impact the quality of one's sleep, and thus continue the cycle of ill health. When illness compromises sleep, it inhibits the body's ability to fight or recover from illness already attacking.
Those who have cancer, for example, often experience sleep problems. This can put them in a challenging cycle of sleep deprivation that puts roadblocks in their path to recovery.
The good news is that they are more ways than ever to remove some of these roadblocks.
The Effect of Cancer on Sleep
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 50% of cancer patients have trouble sleeping. Difficulty sleeping can include Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), sleeping that is fragmented, or insomnia. Some reports show that up to 80% of patients who are undergoing cancer treatments experience some form of insomnia.
One of the significant reasons for sleeping problems is stress, uncertainty, and fear. Other patients have difficulty sleeping directly due to their treatments while others experience pain that affects sleep quality.
Other factors include diet and less than optimum sleeping conditions. Cancer has also been shown to be a cause of increased sleep apnea, which adds to the potential issues.
The Effect of Sleep on Cancer Cells
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America says that, among other things, lack of sleep, especially if it is chronic, may affect the balance of two hormones, cortisol, and melatonin. The production and balance of these two hormones could potentially influence how cancer cells behave.
Cortisol, for example, generally peaks in the morning after hours of quality sleep. Cortisol helps to regulate the immune system, including releasing natural cells that help the body fight cancer. When sleep is compromised, it stands to reason cortisol and its benefits are not being produced at their optimum.
The brain creates melatonin during sleep which is believed to have antioxidant properties. These positive qualities can help reduce damage to cells which can lead to cancer.
Again, it is logical to assume higher quality sleep produces higher levels of beneficial melatonin. This demonstrates not only how good quality sleep may help a cancer patient better fight their disease, but may actually help prevent it in others.
Improving the Quality of SleepIf you or someone you care about is fighting cancer, it becomes important to monitor and take steps necessary to improve sleep quality. These include:
- Proper diet
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Reduce stress
- Limit television viewing and electronic device use prior to bedtime
- Consider massages or warm baths to help the body relax
- Keep a diary to track what may be affecting your sleep patterns and make adjustments.
You will also want a sleep environment conducive to quality, restorative sleep. This includes creating a cool, comfortable environment.
Cooling Off Insomnia and Cancer Related Sleep Issues
For many years, the focus on improved sleep in mattresses revolved around whether they were adjustable, what foam material they were made of, or how they were constructed.
Mattress companies spent millions of dollars extolling the benefits of their innovative construction and the power of personal adjustability. But even these advances haven't helped millions, including cancer patients, who continue to have difficulty sleeping.
They all fail to address a significant issue involved in achieving quality, deep, restorative sleep. The benefits of a cool mattress to reduce body temperature during sleep.
Chili and Better Sleep
In 2007, Todd and Tara Youngblood created Chili as a way to stay cool at night. With products like the chiliPAD and OOLER, users are able to operate their sleep system anywhere from 55 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
While higher temperatures may be desired when in a cold climate when the power goes out, lower temperatures allow for deep, restorative sleep. This is the type of sleep that can rejuvenate anyone in daily life and may allow cancer patients an opportunity to sleep more comfortably.
Cancer patient Shelly M. says, “I found using my chiliPAD after treatment reduced my pain significantly.” “I have thought of the possibility of getting the word out. Oncology groups would also be a plus,” stated another user who found value in the product.