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How can CBT help with sleep problems in cancer patients?

Researchers have recommended cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as gentle, mind-body focused exercise, as possible remedies for cancer patients struggling with their sleep. And there is data to prove that it works. In one study, an internet-based insomnia CBT therapy helped improve:
  • insomnia severity
  • the amount of time it takes to fall asleep
  • the amount of time patients spent in bed asleep
  • the “soundness” of their sleep
  • and feelings of restoration upon awakening
I’ve long been a proponent of cognitive behavioral therapy and mind-body therapies as treatments for insomnia and other sleep problems. There’s evidence that CBT can be more effective than drug therapies for sleep -- a particular advantage for cancer patients who may not be able or inclined to add another medication to their routine. CBT has also been shown to be effective in alleviating pain -- which of course helps sleep as well -- and may also provide the cancer patient added relief during their waking hours. Mind-body therapies such as yoga and tai chi are other drug-free options that have shown promise in treating sleep and chronic pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.