Sleep problems

Older woman in bed having trouble sleeping

What sleep problems might I have? 

  • Finding it difficult to fall asleep
  • Waking up during the night or early in the morning

What causes sleep problems?

  • Anxiety or worries
  • Steroids
  • Depression

What can I do? 

Tips and hints – sleep problems

  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you’re having trouble sleeping. They can give you advice and let you know about any lifestyle changes or medication that may help. 
  • If you are feeling depressed or anxious, try talking to your family or close friends about your concerns. If you find this difficult, ask to see a counsellor. They will help you to find ways to cope.
  • If you’re taking steroids, try to take them in the morning.
  • Have a regular routine at bedtime.
  • Go to bed each night at the same time.
  • Avoid using screens just before you go to bed.
  • Take a warm milky drink before bed, but not coffee or tea.
  • Have a warm bath with a few drops of lavender oil in it or sprinkle a few drops on your pillow.
  • Listen to music or the radio if you cannot sleep. Or get up and watch TV or read a book. Wait until you feel tired again and then go back to bed.
  • Play relaxation tapes or use a mediation or relaxation app, to help you fall asleep or get back to sleep.
  • Go to your local cancer support service and ask if they have any groups where you can learn relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness. 

Free counselling from the Irish Cancer Society

We fund up to 8 sessions of free, one-to-one counselling at many local cancer support centres. We have more information about counselling.

Man talking to a counsellor

For more information

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1800 200 700

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