HUMPEL N. & IVERSON D.C. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 761–768
Sleep quality, fatigue and physical activity following a cancer diagnosis
Research on physical activity for cancer survivors suggests a relationship with improved quality of life. The aim of this study was to explore if there was also a relationship of physical activity with sleep difficulties and fatigue, common effects of cancer and its treatments. Recruitment was by posters and flyers in medical waiting rooms and by letter of invitation. Thirty-two breast and 59 prostate cancer survivors completed the questionnaire. Poor sleep quality was reported by 57.8%. A greater proportion of breast cancer (36.7%) than prostate cancer survivors (15.5%) reported poor sleep latency, and sleep disturbance (48.4% vs. 17.2%). The mean minutes of moderate physical activity was lower among participants reporting poor sleep quality [F(1,89) = 11.36, P < 0.001]. A greater proportion of breast cancer (65.7%) than prostate cancer survivors (43.1%) reported high fatigue. Participants who reported no physical activity had significantly greater fatigue (M = 31) than those reporting high physical activity levels (M = 42). While at an early stage of research, results are suggestive of a relationship of physical activity with sleep problems among cancer survivors. Findings have implications for improving quality of life as poor sleep was associated with greater fatigue and regular physical activity shows promise as an aid to alleviating these problems.