Three Tips for Battling Cancer-Related Lethargy

Feb 9 • 2015

Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common side effects people battling cancer experience. This tiredness can be a result of treatment or a symptom of the disease itself. In addition, the stress that comes with having cancer can leave you feeling extremely tired. It is important to treat this side effect seriously. The better you can cope with it, the better your life will be and the faster you’ll be able to recover from whatever treatment you are undergoing.

Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
Start implementing habits like going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening, and staying away from stimulating activities like watching television or playing a game on your phone right before you’re ready to go to bed. If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep after 20 minutes in bed, get up and do something relaxing, like reading a book or taking a warm bath. Once you begin to feel tired, get back in bed and attempt to fall asleep again.

Adjust your diet.
Chances are you aren’t eating the same way you were before you were diagnosed with cancer. Oftentimes cancer can suppress your appetite, and it is important to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. Not having the right nutrients can contribute to fatigue. Eat small meals frequently throughout the day with nutritious options like eggs, nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables to help reduce fatigue.

Plan your day around your energy.
Energy levels change throughout the day, so spend a few days noting when you feel most tired and when you have the most energy. Spread out commitments and activities you need to get done throughout the week so you don’t find yourself with a lot to do in one day. Ask friends and family to help you with strenuous activities that will use a lot of energy and make any other daily activities as easy on your body as possible. Sit down whenever you can and keep things you need to access daily somewhere that is easy to remember.

If you find that you feel tired and are also experiencing signs of depression, speak with your doctor to find the best plan of action.