Insomnia in cancer patients – pro

Handsome doctor talking with his patient for the annual check-up

Insomnia of cancer patients can be a manifestation of chemotherapy, antiemetics or steroid drugs,  inadequately treated pain or anxiety and stress, and a workup for insomnia is reasonable to require.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy appears to be effective for the treatment of insomnia in the general population and also has been upgraded to “likely to be effective” in the Oncology Nursing Society Putting Evidence Into Practice weight of evidence category. It would be expected that many strategies used for non-cancer patients will also be useful for cancer patients. The most frequently used strategies are stimulus control, sleep restriction, relaxation therapies, paradoxical intention, sleep hygiene, and cognitive restructuring. Sleep medications can also be a useful adjunct.

Palesh OG, Roscoe JA, Mustian KM, et al.: Prevalence, demographics, and psychological associations of sleep disruption in patients with cancer: University of Rochester Cancer Center-Community Clinical Oncology Program. J Clin Oncol 28 (2): 292-8, 2010.

Savard J, Morin CM: Insomnia in the context of cancer: a review of a neglected problem. J Clin Oncol 19 (3): 895-908, 2001.

Berger AM: Update on the state of the science: sleep-wake disturbances in adult patients with cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum 36 (4): E165-77, 2009

Otte JL, Carpenter JS.Theories, models, and frameworks related to sleep-wake disturbances in the context of cancer.
Cancer Nurs. 2009 Mar-Apr;32(2):90-104; quiz 105-6.

Michael J. Sateia et al, Clinical Practice Guideline for the Pharmacologic Treatment of
Chronic Insomnia in Adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Clinical Practice Guideline. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2017

Amir Qaseem et al, Management of Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians Free.  Ann Intern Med. 2016;165(2):125-133.

For Lay version see here

Participate in our Forums

To ask questions or participate in a discussion, please visit our Forums. You must LOGIN to participate.

Help Us Help Others

You can become a Site Sponsor. Or you may wish to support our work with a Donation.

Focused Articles For You

Lay Portal