Explore strategies to avoid the “dog tired” exhaustion you can’t fix with a good night’s rest.
Fatigue during treatment is common. Sometimes it’s hard to find a label for what you’re feeling. But the persistent washed-out feeling of being drained physically, mentally and emotionally may be cancer-related fatigue.
When it comes to treating it, what works for one person may not work for another. Your care team will help you find the right combination of strategies to manage fatigue.
Tips for Finding Energy
Fatigue may be unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to ease the symptoms while it slowly fades away. Experts share these fatigue-fighting tips:
- Look for contributing causes. It’s important to talk with your care team about possible medical conditions that may be causing your fatigue. Things like pain or its treatment, depression, other medical conditions, anxiety and nausea can make fatigue worse.
- Skip gimmicks. The market is filled with all-natural products offering tempting claims to help you find and conserve energy when you’re feeling zapped. Before reaching for a product, like a tea or supplement, talk with your care team. Some supplements could help, but others can make your treatments less effective and do more harm than good.
- Conserve energy. Make rest part of your daily routine. Just be sure to limit naps to no more than 30 minutes so you can sleep at night. If you’re having problems sleeping at night, this can contribute to mental and physical fatigue.
- Try moving. It may sound contradictory if you’re feeling tired, but regular physical activity can lessen fatigue. When you’re active, tissues in your body get oxygen and nutrients, helping your cardiovascular system work efficiently. As your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy. Talk with your care team about safe exercise options for you.
- Practice good sleep habits. Go to sleep at the same time each night. Experts recommend skipping the bright screens of tablets, smartphones and television before bed. The light can disrupt your brain’s sleep/wake cycles.
- Watch what you eat and when. While a balanced diet can keep your energy reserves up, certain foods and drinks can make it harder for you to rest and relax. High-fat or spicy foods can cause heartburn when it’s bedtime. Foods high in refined sugar can cause an imbalance in blood sugar levels and disrupt sleep. Avoid caffeine after lunch, it can keep you awake through the evening. Skip alcohol. It may make you drowsy, but it can prevent you from reaching deep sleep.
- Consider complementary therapies. Yoga, aromatherapy, acupuncture and massage may be useful for fighting fatigue, according to some studies.
If you’re struggling with fatigue or sleep problems, the most important thing you can do is talk with your care team. With their guidance, you can determine causes and find solutions for feeling more energized.