Prostate cancer fatigue: how healthy eating, exercise and sleep can help

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Essential nutrition: eating well to manage fatigue

A healthy diet filled with essential nutrition can give you the energy boost you need, but you may not be up to preparing the food yourself due to fatigue, a daily challenge faced by people with prostate cancer.

Try asking a close friend or family member to help out, or consider a food delivery service. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian. They can recommend some easy to make meals, healthy foods on the go, and grocery delivery services.

Staying hydrated

Your body needs plenty of fluids for energy and hydration. Aim for 10 to 12 glasses (or 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day. You might be thinking that’s too much, especially if you have problems with peeing (or urinating), but drinking plenty of water can help prevent bladder irritation. Clear, almost colorless urine is a sign you’re getting enough fluids. However, try not to drink water at least 2 hours before bed. Drinking too much can cause you to run back and forth to the bathroom at night.

Getting rest and sleep to help with fatigue

Your body needs proper rest and sleep to help with fatigue. It may not completely go away, but a good sleep routine can make a difference.

Bedroom habits

    Helpful sleeping conditions:

  • Keep your bedroom quiet. If things are noisy, feel free to try earplugs.

  • Turn down the lights. Lights can be distracting, so if you can’t turn them off, use an eye mask and dark blinds to help.

  • Find the right temperature. A comfortable temp will help you relax, especially if you have hot flashes that keep you up at night.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, speak to your family doctor or GP. They may sometimes prescribe sleeping pills to help you get some rest.

If something’s bothering you and keeping you from getting to sleep, write it down. In the daytime, take another look. If it’s still bothering you the next day, reach out to your doctor, partner, family, or friends for support.

    Getting ready for bed

  • 30 minutes before bed, don’t use your computer, phone or TV. Bright screens and background noise can be too distracting.

  • Limit what you eat and drink before turning in. If you’re hungry, a little snack is fine, but don’t go overboard. Slow down on liquids too, even water, so you don’t have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

  • Avoid alcohol, fizzy drinks, and drinks with caffeine (like coffee or tea). These not only irritate your bladder, they may also keep you awake.

  • Keep a journal close, so you can jot something down if you need to.

Setting a daytime schedule

Get your body on a schedule. Wake up at the same time every day and set a definite bedtime. If you get tired during the day, try not to go sleep. Instead, do a calming activity and rest for a moment. You can even do some physical exercise.

Exercise to help beat fatigue

Exercise and physical activity are highly recommended to help beat the effects of fatigue.

    They can improve your:

  • Energy levels.

  • Mood.

  • Sleep.

  • Appetite.

  • Strength.

  • Weight.

  • General health.

Getting started

If you’re not currently physically active, it can be tough to get started. But any activity is better than none. Do what you can and build up a daily routine under your doctor’s guidance.

You can start by climbing the stairs, walking a couple blocks, or going for a swim. The more activities you build up, the more energy and strength you’ll have.

Exercise programs near you

Some areas have special exercise programs for men with prostate cancer. The fitness trainers and staff will understand your needs and concerns, and will be able to work with you to build your routine. Speak to your doctor or care team, or check with a local support group who can help point you to exercise resources.

Worried about getting going?

If you have problems with peeing, you might have concerns about leaking urine when exercising. And if you’re on hormone therapy or have advanced prostate cancer, your bones may feel a bit weak. If you think you might hurt yourself, please talk to your doctor, nurse, or a physiotherapist about which exercises are right for you.