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Ask an Expert: Chemotherapy and insomnia

Q: I'm undergoing chemo, and though I am experiencing heavy-duty fatigue, I am also suffering from insomnia! Sometimes it's hard to fall asleep; other nights I wake up around 3 a.m. for an hour or two. My medical oncologist said chemo can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and prescribed Ambien. I don't like the idea of relying on a sleeping pill. Anything else I can do?

Answer from Miles Hassell, M.D., director of Providence Integrative Medicine at Providence Cancer Center:

Forms Instructions

New Warnings on Popular Sleep Medications:

Important things to know about the Food and Drug Administration’s recent recommendations on zolpidem

Proprietary Health Article

March: Spring forward for better sleep

This Sunday, we “spring forward” to daylight saving time. That means a little less sleep and a few more yawns on Monday.

Your April resolution: Get some sleep

If you’ve been following along with our 2011 monthly resolutions for better health, then you’ve made some impressive changes in your life in just three months: you’ve had a thorough health checkup, kicked tobacco out of your life, and started a lifelong exercise habit. Give yourself a big high-five – I know that not all of these were easy to do. By comparison, you should be able to accomplish April’s resolution in your sleep.

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