Difficulty sleeping

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining your energy levels, reducing fatigue, and improving mood. Difficulty sleeping may be caused by pain, breathlessness, anxiety or depression. Some medicines can also disrupt sleep. If you already had sleep problems before the mesothelioma diagnosis, these can become worse.

Talk to your doctor about what might be helpful for you. Your medicines may need adjusting or sleep medication may be an option. There are also a number of strategies that other people with mesothelioma have found helpful (see below).


Getting a better night’s sleep

  • Try to do some gentle physical activity every day. This will help you sleep better. Talk to a physiotherapist, who can tailor an exercise program, and an occupational therapist, who can suggest equipment to help you move safely. For more on this, call Cancer Council 13 11 20, download a booklet on Cancer and Exercise from this page, or watch exercise videos on Exercise and Cancer.
  • Limit or cut out the use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and spicy food.
  • Avoid using technology, such as television, computers or smartphones, before bed.
  • Establish a regular routine before bed and set up a calm sleeping environment. You may find soothing music helpful. Ensure the room is dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature.

This information was last reviewed in May 2017
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