Does Sleeping Well matter to you now?

During sleep (especially sleep at night), our bodies maintain optimal function of our internal systems. Sleep is also important for thinking (cognitive functioning), healing, and mental health. Either too little or too much sleep is linked to body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more imbalances and many physical, mental, and emotional conditions including cancer and other chronic diseases.1Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Cancer, 3rd Edition: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. 2010; Block KI. Life over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment. New York: Bantam Dell. 2009; Liou KT, Root JC et al. Effects of acupuncture versus cognitive behavioral therapy on cognitive function in cancer survivors with insomnia: a secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial. Cancer. 2020;126(13):3042-3052.

If you feel that a lack of sleep might be impacting your health and wellness, quality of life, and ability to function, then we invite you to explore options and suggestions in our Sleep Disruption handbook.

CancerChoices Senior Clinical Consultant Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS, explains the importance of sleep in cancer care.

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Personal story

CancerChoices Senior Researcher Laura Pole: I was conducting an Ayurvedic cooking workshop over a long weekend at a yogic retreat center. One of the participants was Anton, a 62-year-old gentleman from New York City. He had just finished treatment for prostate cancer and came to the workshop to learn about how to take better care of himself with food. Anton explained that he was a Cuban exile who fled to NYC in the ‘60s and had lived there ever since. 

The morning after he arrived, our retreat center liaison came and told me Anton had not shown up for morning yoga and meditation (an expectation of all center visitors) and that she was going to have to talk to him about this. Anton explained he realized after sleeping so well the night before, that he had not had a full night’s sleep since moving to New York. The street noise was constantly disrupting his sleep to the point where this became his new normal. Anton asserted his needs with the center liaison and said he would continue to sleep in and would go to evening yoga and meditation. He ended up staying an extra week to rejuvenate his body, mind, and spirit in the peace and quiet of the beautiful mountain retreat. He also left with a simple plan to block out the noise from the streets and let in the healing of sleep.

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Laura Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, MSN, RN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher


Whitney You, MD, MPH

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician
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Dr. You is a physician specializing in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) with a specific interest in cancer in the context of pregnancy. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research with a focus in health literacy and received a Master of Public Health.

Whitney You, MD, MPH Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician

Last update: January 18, 2024

Last full literature review: November 2021

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.