To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Cancer: Home Treatment for Sleep Problems

Table of Contents

Things you can do

Home treatment may be all that is needed to relieve sleep problems caused by cancer or the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. If your doctor has given you instructions or medicines to treat sleep problems, be sure to follow them. Check with your doctor before using any nonprescription medicines to help you sleep.

Establish a sleep routine

Make your bedroom a restful place

After you are in bed

If you take medicines

Complementary therapies

There is evidence that therapeutic massage improves sleep for people who are having cancer treatments. Massage may also reduce pain, anxiety, and other symptoms.1

Mind-body therapy, such as meditation, relaxation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy, often are helpful for people in cancer treatments. Movement-based mind-body therapy, such as yoga and tai chi, have been found to improve sleep quality.2

Watch for symptoms during home treatment

Be sure to talk to your doctor if your sleep problems get worse, you feel very tired, or have a hard time functioning during the day. Also, let your doctor know if your symptoms become more severe or happen more often.



  1. Freeman L (2009). Massage therapy. Mosby's Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach, 3rd ed., chap. 13, pp. 364–388. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
  2. Ulbricht CE (2015). Complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies in cancer care. In VT DeVita Jr et al., eds., DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg's Cancer Principles and Practices of Oncology, 10th ed., pp. 2163–2174. Philadelphia: Walters Kluwer.

Credits for Cancer: Home Treatment for Sleep Problems

Current as of: December 17, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Michael Seth Rabin MD - Medical Oncology

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.