Why Rest is Important

Rest is vital to recovery. Although your treatment has ended, you are still coping with how it affects your body. Chemotherapy or radiation treatments add toxins to your body that need to be eliminated. Resting will help the body cast of these unwanted toxins but without adequate rest, the body may suffer.

How rest can help

Rest allows our bodies to rebuild cells and perform repairs to the vital organs. This leads to muscles recovering from being overworked, brain power improves, waste products can be effectively eliminated, immune system strengthens and can even improve your mood. 

However, rest doesn't necessarily mean sleep. It can just be taking time out to rest your body during a busy day. For example having a cup of tea, listening to music or petting an animal. Resting not only relaxes you, it can decrease your fatigue leading to an improved recovery process. 

Other benefits include:

  • Slowing heart rate and breathing
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving digestion
  • Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Improving concentration and mood
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing anger and frustration
  • Boosting confidence to handle problems

Never feel guilty about resting! It's okay to take things slow, your body will thank you for it. If you are struggling to rest check out our stress relief blogs.

Trouble sleeping?

Trouble sleeping is a common problem in cancer patients. Getting enough sleep is an important part of your recovery. Sleeping gives your mind and body time to rejuvenate and refresh to help you function at your best while you're awake.

Speak to your doctor as they might be able to give you medicines to help, although there are natural ways you can try first to see if they can make any difference.

For example, changing some areas of your lifestyle could make a huge difference. Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body, and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. By increasing your daytime light exposure, sleep quality is improved and duration. It can also reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. 

In contrast, light exposure at night can have the opposite effect. This can trick your brain to think it is still daytime. To reduce this effect, stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 2 hours before heading to bed.  For your smartphone, install an app that blocks blue light or try wearing glasses that block blue light.

The most important tip for sleeping well is not to rest too much during the day. Taking short naps or rest breaks, that are 30 minutes or less, can really help improve your sleep. Too much rest can lower your energy level and make it harder to sleep at night.

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