Sleep Hygiene for LEMS Patients
People with Lambert-Eaton syndrome (LEMS) may experience sleep problems. Because a good night’s sleep is essential to your physical and mental health, and to a good quality of life, it may be beneficial for you to practice sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is defined as behaviors you choose to do to promote a good night’s sleep, so you will be more alert and active during the day.
Good sleep hygiene includes establishing an evening routine, and going to bed around the same time each night. It also means sleeping for about the same amount of time every night.
Sleep and LEMS
About 60% of LEMS cases are linked to small cell lung cancer. When LEMS is associated with cancer, it is a type of paraneoplastic syndrome of the nervous system, which can cause problems with sleep. Such syndromes develop in some people who have cancer.
Sleep hygiene tips
Leading up to bedtime, reading or doing something relaxing may help. LEMS symptoms may worsen when you’re warm or have a fever, so consider avoiding hot showers or baths before bed if you are having issues.
Set your bedroom thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Usually, a little cooler is better than warmer, even when you’re experiencing minimal symptoms.
Avoid heavy or spicy foods, and alcohol or stimulants shortly before bedtime.
Resist reading from a phone or computer, or watching TV, for several hours before bedtime. So-called “blue light” from those devices inhibits the release of the hormone melatonin, which helps you sleep.
Other suggestions include limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes, getting adequate exposure to natural light during the day, balancing fluid intake, and having a comfortable mattress and pillows. Perhaps ocean sounds or soothing music can help.
Keeping pain under control also is important to ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. Using heat pads on sore joints can help. You may want to speak with your physician about pain management. They may prescribe a prolonged-release medication that works throughout the night, as well as sleep aids. However, these often are not a viable long-term solutions, because your body can become resistant to their effects.
If your sleep still is not improving, you may want to get a referral to a sleep clinic, where specialists will assess you and attempt to find help for your specific sleep problems.
Last updated: Nov. 2, 2020
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