Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Out of Sync

I have been reading up on my sleeping problems and I would like to share the information that I found out. This also helps to explains some of the problems that I am experiencing. Why don't I go to the doctor? I did and all they can say is that it is common to cancer patients, worry less and prescribe relaxant and/or sleeping medication.

Life Rhythms and Cancer
There is a link between rhythm and cancer and higher cancer rates has been documented in occupations that involved disrupted sleep. Female airline attendants have double the incidence of breast cancer compared to others in the population.

Our bodies have a number of rhythms and cycles that are multilayer, annual, seasonal, monthly, daily and hourly, as well as short repeated cycles like heart beat. When these rhythms are disturbed, illness may occur.

Cancer tissues have disrupted biological patterns and when cancer cells grows, normal twenty-four hour circadian patterns throughout the body goes out of synchrony, such as my disrupted temperature rhythms. Biorhythms disturbed include:
  • Sleep patterns
  • The rise and fall of body temperature
  • Heart rate and hear rate variability and its interconnection with the breathing patterns and
  • Patterns of cells and tissues growth
Insomnia is well documented in cancer patients due to not only the stress of the illness but the disturbed circadian rhythm. In most cancer patients, the patterns that underline sleep are out of sync. For healthy people, the body produces melatonin, which promotes natural sleep. In some cancer patients, the body's output of melatonin is significant lower, whereas others produces no melatonin at all. Restoration of sleep is a key to our capacity to heal.

The use of sleeping medication do not provide deep and regenerating sleep. Sleep medication tend to disturb the body's ability to repair and rebuild. Patients who habitually take sleeping medication have a 25-36% increased death rate. So sleeping medication should be used for crisis management for a few days but not for prolonged use.

What Can I Do?
  • Resetting the internal clock. Reset the circadian rhythm by reducing the exposure to light at bedtime. The production of melatonin, triggered when it gets dark, can be disrupted by light exposure. So turn off all lights at bedtime, unplugging of electrical appliances that emits light and reduce computer work and TV after a certain nightly hour. Sleeping in absolute darkness, many people find that their sleep becomes deeper and less interrupted.
  • Balancing body chemistry. Cancer and cancer medications can interfere with the metabolism of essential nutrients. Taking of a light protein snack before sleep can be helpful as taking calcium supplements.
  • Cultivating peace of mind. In many cases, insomnia is triggered fear and worry. All these are counter productive and tapping into resources such as cognitive restructuring or mindfulness practice is helpful. It is important the mind not be over stimulated at bedtime. Watching new and a thriller movie before bedtime are not recommended. Choreograph the time before going to bed with peaceful music, videos, or uplifting reading. Allow an hour to relax. Develop self awareness and emotional balance.
Source: Fighting Cancer - A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment by Robert Gorter, MD, PhD and Erik Peper, PhD.


  1. Perhaps you could try a melatonin supplement.
    As we age our bodies produce less melatonin, and sometime we need to supplement the loss.

    I have been giving my Mother 3mg 30 minutes before bedtime, and it has really helped her. Before she would be up all night pacing the floor.

    My sister has also takes the melatonin for her
    Ulcerative colitis. Studies have shown it to be good for the gastrointestinal tract.

    My husband and I also take it, to get a good nights sleep.

  2. Yes, that would be better than taking say sleep medication. The thing to watch out for melatonin supplement are the side effects which includes:

    - Daytime sleepiness
    - Dizziness
    - Headaches

    Other, less common melatonin side effects might include abdominal discomfort, mild anxiety, irritability, confusion and short-lasting feelings of depression.

    In addition, melatonin supplements can interact with various medications, including:

    - Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants)
    - Medications that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants)
    - Diabetes medications
    - Birth control pills

    Check with the doctor first before considering taking melatonin supplements — especially if you have any health conditions. The correct dose depends on the intended use. For example, circadian rhythm sleep disorders are often treated with 0.5 milligrams of melatonin a day, while doses of 3 to 5 milligrams a day might be used to treat jet lag or reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. In addition, remember that melatonin is generally recommended only for short-term use — up to two months. Some research indicates that longer term use might be appropriate in certain cases, however.

    Anyway, thanks for your suggestion.