It’s normal for people to have some trouble sleeping occasionally. But if you have trouble falling or staying asleep frequently, it may be insomnia.

It’s normal for people to have some trouble sleeping occasionally. Everyday stress, heartburn, or having too much caffeine or alcohol can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Insomnia is different. if you have trouble falling or staying asleep frequently, it may be insomnia. Insomnia can affect your mood, cause fatigue, and make it hard to think and concentrate.

Some pain medicines can cause insomnia, as can breast cancer treatments, including the chemotherapy medicine Ixempra (chemical name: ixabepilone), certain hormonal therapies, and certain targeted therapies.

Hormonal therapies that may cause insomnia include:

Targeted therapies that may cause insomnia include:

Insomnia can also be caused by the emotional stress of a breast cancer diagnosis and worries about the future. Anxiety and the fear of recurrence can make it tough for some people to get a good night’s sleep. Insomnia is also a common side effect of menopause, whether it occurs naturally or as the result of breast cancer treatment.


Managing insomnia

There are various treatments for sleep problems that your doctor can recommend if you have insomnia. Your doctor also can tell you if a prescription, over-the-counter sleeping aid, or supplement is right for you. If a pain medicine is causing your sleeping problems, your doctor can have you try a different one.

Some people also find the following tips helpful:

  • Don’t nap during the day. If you must take a nap, don’t sleep more than one hour and don’t nap after 3 p.m.

  • Exercise during the day to help make yourself tired, relieve stress, and improve your mood. To make sure you’re not still revved up from exercising when you try to fall sleep, it’s best to exercise about five or six hours before bedtime.

  • Wind down at night. Don’t exercise, talk on the phone, or watch television before going to bed.

  • Relax by taking a warm bath.

  • Use your bed for sleeping only. Don’t read, watch television, or listen to music in bed.

  • Read before bed. Try reading a dull book or a book you’ve read before that you find soothing — but don’t read in bed.

  • Don't drink a lot of water or anything else before going to bed. This reduces your need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to get your body used to a healthy sleep schedule.

  • Avoid alcohol. It may help you fall asleep but it can make you wake up in the middle of the night.

  • Quit smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant and can keep you awake.

  • Cut down on caffeine, especially after noon. This includes coffee, soda, chocolate, and tea.

  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet to get the best rest.

  • Hide the clocks in your bedroom. You won’t be as anxious about falling asleep if you don’t know what time it is.

  • Try silicone earplugs if noise is keeping you up at night.

— Last updated on July 28, 2022, 7:27 PM

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