My Ovacome
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Sleep problems


Was wondering if anyone is like me and has sleep problems since having chemo. My problem is I fall asleep fine, but then I wake up every 2 hours. I go to the bathroom and get a drink then lay in bed till I drop off again. This happens every night now. During the course of the night I wake up 4 times. Prior to having chemo I always woke up once a night for the bathroom but now its driving me mad. When I finally get up in the morning which is usually about 7 I feel I have not been to bed. I never sleep or nap during the day and I am still active as I work 5 days a week. I did try sleeping tablets the other night but even they did not work. And somehow I texted my boss in the middle of the night without any memory of doing it, ( lucky I did not say anything I would regret) Thanks ladies I know someone will have an answer. Love Babs x x x

10 Replies

Hi Babs,

I think this is quite normal -sadly- and another side-effect of the steroids you are given to tolerate the chemo. They not only cause sleeplessness from 2 or 3 days after tretment, but interrupt your normal sleep patterns. Also, the hormonal effects of all this will be likely to do this too!

Try listening to the radio quietly when you wake. If you fall asleep to the radio regularly, it becomes an 'anchor' (hypnosis term), and will work better than any drug, without the hang-over!!

Very best wishes,



Hi Isadora,

I thought this was quite a common condition after chemo. I will try that tonight I don`t normally listen to the radio at home only in the car. But I'm so fed up with disturbed sleep I will try anything. I will let you know if it works. Thanks for the advice Love Babs x x


Hi Babs,

I also have disturbed sleep whilst on chemo, and terrible night sweats which don't help!. I have a relaxation CD which I have put on my i pod, with breathing exercises which I listen to if I am awake, it always helps to get me back to sleep,

take care,



Hi Babs

Think this is common . The steroids from chemo will keep you up those few days and dont know if then takes a while to get back into the sleep pattern again and betime then chemo due again . Worry can disturb sleep and maybe worth while asking the Gp about a different sleeping tablet as there are lots available . Hormonal changes as well play a part. Try all the usual things . No internet or anything that needs a lot concentration or will make your mind too active , Warm drinks(not coffee) and maybe worth if you do drink a lot of coffee or tea to stop at a certain time so not having too late prior to bed . Think we all have been trhough this . Personally some nights sleep all night and others mind racing




Hi Babs

As the others have said, I think sleep problems are par for the course on chemo but I know you feel it's the last thing you need on top of what you're already dealing with. You mention you tried a sleeping tablet. My doctor prescribed Zopliclone and I found they worked reasonably well. I still take one or half a one occasionally if I've had a bad spell or know I need a night's sleep.

I find meditation exercises where I just concentrate on my breathing helpful too. You could look on the web for relaxation tips and there's a free app for iPhones and iPads called Take a Break.

Hope you find something that works for you.

All the best



I've been a 'friend' to insomnia most of my life, so only waking up 4 times seems like a good nights sleep. The radio is really good as it takes away the feeling of being the only person awake in the world. Also, as I got used to the schedule I realised I was sleeing more than I'd thought, as if I don't remember hearing the shipping forecast I must have been asleep. A helpful GP prescribed 10mg of amitriptyline to be taken every night a few hours before going to bed. No completely sleepless nights since.

xx sweet dreams


Hi there Babs ...

So sorry to hear you are not sleeping , I was terrible to begin with till I took my steriods at breakfast and lunch time and with the shingles I lost loads of sleep so know how you feel xx

I have used lavender oil for years if I cannot sleep but its ok if you like it .

I am finding now that I am sleeping alot better so there is light at the end of the tunnel .

There are natural tablets that can help you sleep like Nytol but you would have to get it checked out with you Oncologist first ..

A lighter quilt will keep you cool now we have summer at last ....

Thinking of you xxx

love Janet xxx


Hi ladies thanks so much for all your answers and suggestions. Last night I tried hot milk and put the radio on when I went to bed. I fell asleep within about ten mins and stayed asleep for 3 hours when I woke I left the radio on and drifted in and out of sleep for a couple of hours. I turned it off at 5am and slept till nearly 8am. So did fell better this morning. I am seeing my doctor at maidstone hospital on Monday so will mention my lack of sleep . Once again thanks to every one on this special site Love and Hugs Babs x x x


Dear Babs

I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling with sleeping but good your regime of hot milk and the radio seemed to do the trick. I really don't know how you're coping at all on chemotherapy and working 5 days a week. Is there any way you could have two or three days off after chemotherapy sessions so you can rest and re-establish good sleeping patterns.

My daughter suffers with insomnia. She finds massage and acupuncture very therapeutic. I also wonder whether the doctor at the hospital could recommend you to a healthcare professional - a physiotherapist? - who could give you some relaxation exercises to help you sleep.

I found it difficult to sleep on chemotherapy. Something that works for me if I wake up in the early hours is to make myself a herbal tea and toast and butter. This tricks my brain into thinking it's time to get up and for some inexplicable reason sends me into a deep and relaxing sleep for the remaining hour or so of the night.

Sweet dreams. xxx Annie


Hi Annie,

I have booked three days off next week after my chemo next Wednesday. I think the reason I work is because it keeps my mind occupied and stops me thinking about my OC ( plus the money helps ). Also the staff at the restaurant are great they always say anytime I feel ill or tired I can go home early. My husband is off tonight so I will get him to give me a massage which I am sure will be fun.

Hope your doing well and thank you for your ideas. This site always helps with our problems no matter how small or large they are.

Love and Hugs Babs x x x


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