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Does anyone have as much trouble sleeping as I do?

Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

I've always had trouble sleeping. I started taking Lunesta on and off several years back. Since Cancer, I take it every night. It's not something you can take once in a while. I don't like Ambien. Restoril works if I take 2, but it's depressive. I take Nighty Night tea if I'm too wound up. Before it was trouble getting to sleep. With medicine I get 2 sleep easier although it can take 1-2 hours to get there. Now I'm waking up more during the night and I wake up exhausted and have to drag myself out of bed to get to work. I know Arimidex is making it worse.

Any one else having these problems? I KNOW I'm not alone in this! Are your docs doing anything to help? If so, which doc?


Posts: 85
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi Deb my name is Patricia and I also have had a hard time sleeping since I was diagnosed on May 18th of this year. I had to abruptly stop taking the hormones I had been on for 5 years so I get lots and lots of hot flashes that have been waking up at night a lot more recently it is very frustrating. I know how you feel. I asked my Dr about anything I could use to help these hot flashes. She came up with a few lame suggestions, so I have 2 fans by my bed, and if I start getting hot I turn them on to cool down then can go back to sleep. I have heard from a few drs to take a bath 2-3 hours before bed it helps you sleep. I have done it and it worked for me. Hope this helps you and to let you know you are not alone


Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

I do the baths sometimes. Sometimes it helps. It's been too hot lately to think about a hot bath. Since menopause (before cancer dx) I am one of the lucky ones not to have hot flashes even now on Arimidex. However, I do have to put the temp down in my bedroom to 74 at night. Being on the computer before bedtime is not a good idea, so I should get off and go to bed now :)

Good night ladies!

Posts: 29
Joined: May 2012

I do have a hard time going to sleep.

I am exhausted during the morning and early afternoon THEN I get my second wind and I am up to 1 or 2am. There have also been times that I don't get to sleep until 5am and I have to be up at 630 to get kids off to school.

Mentioned this to doctor but she just passed it by I am sure she would give me sleeping pills if I asked but I just hate to take any more pills so I occasionally do what the interns in the hospital do when they can't sleep . . . they take benadryl and this works for me also but I can't take it every nite so I just use it when I feel I really need the rest.

I agee wih Patricia a nice warm bath may be just what you need it is very relaxing.

Let your doctor know (again) that you are having problems and maybe he/she will change or give you medication to help you.

Good Luck on this journey and I pray that you do well.

sweetvickid's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: Nov 2009

My last treatment was Jan30, 2011 and I still can't sleep thru the night. A good nite I sleep for 2 hours at a time. They are doing studies on how chemo effects sleep long term.

ksf56's picture
Posts: 203
Joined: Apr 2012

I've had difficulty sleeping for years and the year of dx (2011), chemo and radiation just compounded the problem. I've been on sleep meds for years and without them I never would have slept until I would crash. Following treatment, the lack of sleep continues - surprise, surprise! I talked to my onc and she suggested a sleep study. I said sure, "I'm game!". The results - I have "Restless Leg Syndrome". Gabapentin is the treatment. Also, Gabapentin is the treatment for neuropathy, which I also was having. Once I started the med, my life changed on two very important levels. The neuropathy improved dramatically and I CAN SLEEP!!!! Who knew? I've been sleep deprived for years and this was the answer all this wasted time! You all might want to think about a sleep study - it helped me.


Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

I have trouble sleeping at times, so, my doctor prescribed a sleeping pill for me. It really helps me to get to sleep and get a good night's sleep.


salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

I can't get a full night's sleep! I will wake up several times, but this has been going on since I started into menopause a few years ago. I always wake up tired. I think the chemo definitely made the condition worse though. I just can not remember the last time i felt refreshed and ready to go in the morning!

jerseygirl231's picture
Posts: 178
Joined: Mar 2011

I just got switched back to the brand name femara after a little over a year of not sleeping so far so good I have been sleep for three nights and I hope more .

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

KNOW the feeling all too well. I remember the last time I slept through the night(ODD I KNOW) but Aug 2008!. IF I get 2 hrs straight sleep I am lucky. I am up avg 3-5 x nightly.

Doesn't matter if I stay up late or early to bed. I have mentioned to all 4 of my doctors and nothing every said. NOT sure if post meno, I have been on Tamoxifen since Sept 2008 (starting 5th year)! seems to coinside or just by chance-NO CLUE..


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

wow after reading all these posts we have this issue in common more then I THOUGHT...


SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Has everyone been tested for sleep apnea?


The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making the type of sleep apnea more difficult to determine. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea

Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person

Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea

Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

Morning headache

Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

Attention problems


I have it and kept telling my primary care physician that I woke up being tired after what I thought was a good night sleep. I was tested and the person who tested me told me that I never went into a deep sleep.

Might be worth a try if this hasn't been ruled out.


Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

Glad to know I'm not alone. My GYN told me just before I was diagnosed, I could have a sleep study. At the time it was just having trouble falling asleep, so I said naw... but now it's staying a sleep that's also a problem. I see my MO in a couple of weeks so I'll ask him for a sleep study. My husband's the snorer and that doesn't help, because he wakes me up. He probably needs a study too! All my life I've had episodes, but very few and very far apart of waking up and not being able to catch my breath. Hasn't happened in a while. My Mom has sleep apnea and wears one of those masks.

Doris-"attention problems" and I thought I was ADD!

Well, I'll just take my Kindle with me to a sleep study and probably end up reading all night!

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Deb,

I didn't want to do a sleep study. I have enough problems falling asleep without being watched. My significant other at the time urged me to do it. I remember when the tech came in to wake me up, I was awake and apologized for not being able to sleep. I tried, I kept telling him. He said, "you did fall asleep but I will show you what happen". After I dressed back up, he showed my breathing pattern and explained how I never, never went into a deep sleep. I could see on the printout I didn't. Mine was very bad, I couldn't go to sleep (I was dead tired) couldn't stay asleep and woke up being dead tired. Twice, I drove my car off the road and lucky woke up when my car hit the dirt. I blamed it all on my hypertension medication.

My brother has this problem also.

What a difference it makes to have a good night sleep. I do urge you and all the ladies with problems to see if they have this condition.

I did bring a book and didn't want to stop reading. Finally I did and laid there awake which I assumed to be all night. The beds are very comfortable and the place was very clean.

Good luck,


lindan123's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2012

Try to identify the cause of your sleep problems. What is insomnia caused by? Are you in pain? Are you worried about something? Are you drinking too much caffeine? Are you letting yourself sleep throughout the day? Are you feeling depressed or anxious?
Share your thoughts with your health care provider about your sleep problems. One way to do this is by keeping a sleep diary. Chart the times you are asleep and awake. Note what you think may be contributing to your difficulty sleeping.
keep good sleep 'hygiene':
Avoiding day time naps
Go to bed when tired
Regular daytime exercise
Waking at the same time each day
Avoiding exercise close to bed time
Avoiding coffee, tea and alcohol close to bed time
Have a quiet and comfortable sleeping environment
Having a drink of warm milk or listening to some soothing music before going to bed.
I hope this is useful to you.


Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Be careful with being diagnosed with sleep apnea...Sounds nutty but true.....our good friend and neighbor was diagnosed with this...when he retired at 59 he was able to cobra his health insurance for 18 months...afterwards he was turned down by all the insurance companies he applied to because he had a diagnosis of sleep apnea....he had to go into a state pool and it's costing them a fortune....just some FYI...

Hugs, Nancy

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

Thanks for the info Nancy. I never had trouble sleeping until after my diagnosis with bc, and now I take a sleeping pill some times. It does help.


Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

Put me in the high risk pool? I figure if I ever lost my job before I turn 65, I'm in big trouble insurance-wise. Woke up gasping needing water the other morning. Haven't had that happen in a long long time. I'll ask my onco for a sleep study on Monday. I'm not having as many problems falling asleep (with medication) as I am staying asleep. My morning sleep is usually the best and I'm not getting that now.

Thanks everyone for all of the advice. Tried most, just doesn't work. In fact I shouldn't be on the computer this late. Should get off and read.


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I have always had trouble sleeping too. I do not take meds every night as all of them can cause severe rebound insomnia when you stop taking them (you have to wean slowly). I also worry about the longterm effects., so I reserve taking a sleep med only when I really get my days and nights after working a night shift.

As to what to do about insomnia, here are my tips:

1) Avoid caffeine. It is the devil for insomniacs. I never drink a caffeinated beverage after 11AM. Usually just have one cup of coffee and then switch to decaff beverages.
2) No TV for 2 hrs before bedtime. No tv in bedroom at all. No electronic light in bedroom.
3) Try and go to sleep around the same time every night.
4) Use a white noise machine and ear plugs. The ear plugs really help me. Diminishing background noise seems to really help relax me.
5) Use a comfortable eye mask if there is too much light in your bedroom. Any light at all can be associated with insomnia.
6) No phones in the bedroom (unless I am on call).
7) I read until drowsy and, if I can't sleep, I read some more. Not everyone recommends this, but it really helps me. I no longer stress about my insomnia, I just read another book.
8) If I don't sleep, I continue my usual routine and I pretend I had a wonderful night's rest. I never, ever count how many hours I sleep.

Last, but not least, consider seeing a sleep specialist. My very thin older sister finally did. She kept complaining about her sleep being "fragile" but never had daytime drowsiness. When we were on vacation together, I heard her stop breating while sleeping and gasp for breath. Finally got her into a sleep specialist and she has obstructive sleep apnea. Turns out women often do not have the daytime drowsiness that men do.

Anyway, a sleep specialist should have better suggestions.

Here are some more tips from a family physician:
8 insomnia tips to help you fall asleep without drugs


shellywahl's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Apr 2012

Like you, I suffer from insomnia like symptoms. Have for years even before diagnosis this year. When I mentioned it to my doc she prescribed a low dose of Xanax. That helps me relax to sleep and stay asleep. You might consider asking about it. I can wake up easily enough, but staying asleep is too important through treatments. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

Ann65's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2012

After each chemo session (usually on Thursdays) I have trouble sleeping for 3-4 nights after, each night gets less sleep. I have tried Benadryl and a prescription for Ambien. Either on have seemed to give me relief from my ability to sleep through the night.

Sometimes I find the use of extra strength Tylenol have helped during the night to relax and sometime go back to sleep. No lingering feelings during the morning and day.

May we all have a good night of sleep to help us through our treatments!

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

... Until my first diagnosis. Haven't slept through the entire night since, many years.

Kind regards, Susan

jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

I used to sleep just fine, but, started having trouble after my diagnosis, so, I talked to my doctor and got a sleeping pill. It is Trazodone and it has helped me a lot. It is a low dose, so, I could take more than one, but, one is all that I need occasionally. I hope you can get some sleep soon and find something to help. Ask your onco about a sleeping pill. It might help you too.

Hugs, Leeza

Posts: 601
Joined: Mar 2004


What is sleep???? I haven't slept right since 2009 after my second bout with cancer. If I do take an ambien it still takes me a couple of hours before I go to sleep. I find lorazapam helps sometimes. I just never sleep well anymore. I have to sleep on my back due to the surgery and I'm a stomach sleeper. I've given up-some nights I actually never go to sleep and end up being up for 36 hours before I'm so exhausted I can't keep my eyes open. Just wanted to let you know you are not the only one!


Attygirl's picture
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

I have had sleep issues for years, but after diagnosis in May, sleep eludes me.

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