Getting a good night’s sleep for some people is difficult, and after a cancer diagnosis and the completion of treatment it can become even harder.
Working on the Healthy Living after Cancer program, I speak with people over the phone assisting them to make healthy lifestyle changes. Often one of the barriers that gets in the way for people wanting to make these changes is feeling exhausted. People often tell me that since their diagnosis and treatment they haven’t had a good night’s sleep and are too tired to exercise and not motivated to prepare healthy food.
One of my clients, we’ll call her Julia, was struggling to make changes to her lifestyle. One of the issues that kept coming up for her was feeling exhausted. We talked about sleep and she said that this was one of her biggest issues and it was preventing her from enjoying life. She hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since her cancer diagnosis and the treatment had thrown her into early menopause. Hormonal symptoms and night sweats where playing havoc with her ability to sleep.
Julia’s experience with lack of sleep isn’t unusual. Many people who have finished their cancer treatment experience problems with sleep.
Over the next few months Julia experimented with different techniques until she found some strategies that helped to get her sleep back on track;
Getting up at the same time each day really helped to reset her body clock.
No alcohol or coffee after 4pm meant that she slept better.
She resisted having a late afternoon nap.
Technology - “bed time rules” not looking at emails, phone or Facebook after 8.30pm at night.
Once Julia had more energy she started exercising more and this also helped to lessen some of the hormonal reactions she was facing. It can be a vicious cycle but Julia managed to get her sleep under control and has gone from strength to strength with improving her general health and wellbeing.
For more information on Sleep & Cancer:
Listen to our Podcast on Sleep & Cancer.
Watch our Webinar on Sleep.
Download our booklet Living Well after Cancer.
Listen to our Relaxation and Meditation CDs online.
Call our information and support team on 13 11 20.
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Winter is here and it’s starting to get cold and when it is cold it is harder to stay motivated around your health and fitness. However now more than ever it is important to exercise. During winter time exercise can provide many great benefits... 1. Exercise outside: The sun is your friend During the winter month’s people often hibernate inside and as a result they miss out on getting enough sunlight which results in Vitamin D deficiencies. Sunshine provides us with Vitamin D and helps to keep our bones and immune system strong. It also boosts positivity, and helps prevent some cancers. 2. Exercise and cancer: Recent research suggests that exercise benefits most people both during and after cancer treatment. It can: Help manage some of the common side effects of treatment Speed up your return to your usual activities Improve your quality of life For more information click here. 3. Helps maintain a healthy weight: Exercising helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Research shows that maintaining a healthy body weight reduces our risk of cancer and also prevents cancer recurrence. Click here for more information. Need motivation? Then check out our Healthy Living after Cancer FREE Health Coaching program: Healthy Living after Cancer
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As Healthy Living after Cancer Health Coach I often hear from clients that they are struggling to eat five serves of vegetables in a day. So here are some tips to eat more vegetables and achieve your goal to reach your five serves. What is a serve? Many people are confused by what is a serve of vegetables. A serve of vegetables is: Half a cup of cooked vegetables or One cup of salad or raw vegetables ½ a medium potato or other starchy vegetable 1 medium tomato ½ cup of cooked dried or canned peas or lentils To read more about what is a serve, click here. Vegetable myth busting Don’t stress about organic versus non- organic – many people worry that they must eat only “organic” vegetables. From a nutrition point of view, the truth is that there isn’t much evidence that organic is any better than non-organic, what is important is to eat vegetables. Fresh versus frozen – the truth is that both are good. Eating fresh vegetables while they are in season is fantastic however frozen vegetables are very nutritious as they are snap frozen at their peak and provided you don’t overcook them they are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables. Tips to increase your veggies Start early – include a serve of vegies with breakfast Make half your dinner plate vegies Add extra vegies (grated carrot, zucchini, beans, mushrooms, peas) to soups and mince dishes such as Bolognese, hamburgers or shepherd’s pie – this will help to make the meal go further! Keep frozen vegetables on hand – they can be cooked in minutes Keep cut-up vegetables (e.g. carrots and celery sticks) in your fridge to snack on with salsa dip, avocado, hummus or plain yoghurt Choose tomato or vegetable sauces for pasta and rice Buy premade salad mixes from the supermarket or take a big fresh salad from home for a quick and easy lunch Replace some carbs with a serve of vegies – replace pasta and rice with spiralizer vegetables or cauliflower rice. Mash other veggies into your potatoes to lighten the carbohydrate load – for example mash broccoli into your mash potatoes. More tips can be found here. Recipes Knowing how to cook tasty vegetables is one of the best skills you can have for your health. For great recipes ideas visit our Eat it to Beat It recipe page. Here are some lunch box ideas to make preparing lunch for the kids stress free. For more information on healthy diet, go here. If you would like to find out more about The Healthy Living after Cancer Program and get support around your health goals, go here. Liz Healthy Living after Cancer Health Consultant Cancer Council NSW
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.