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Help with sleeplessness when you’re receiving palliative care

By Mel Perry, Complementary Therapist

Fatigue is a common symptom for palliative care patients, and we run workshops at our Living Well centre which offer tools for how to manage it.

Equally, many people who use the hospice have trouble sleeping. Here at St Barnabas, we give patients a pack containing useful sleep aids as well as tips and tricks to help them settle and sleep better.

We have developed a blend of essential oils to assist with relaxation and which can also be used in conjunction with simple breathing exercises. Below are some you might like to try at home:

  • Box-breathing: breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, breathe out for four counts and then begin the cycle again
  • Abdominal breathing: close your eyes and place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Focus on the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe slowly in and out
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: starting from your toes, tense and then relax each muscle group in your body, working your way up top your head. As you release, let go of any tension you’re holding in your body

If you are currently under our care and you’re interested in learning more about relaxation and mindfulness, ask your nurse about joining one of our Living Well groups.

Get support

You can sign up to our Living Well sessions and refer yourself if you meet the eligibility requirements:

💙 Over the age of 18
💙 Live in our catchment area (Worthing, Adur, Arun and Henfield)
💙 Have a life-limiting illness

Refer yourself to Living Well

Resources for a great night’s sleep

There are also many resources online which can help with sleep and relaxation, such as the following examples:

  • Calm – Website with guided meditations, sleep stories and music
  • Smoothie – this YouTube channel features nature sounds and ambient music
  • Weightless – this YouTube channel features 10 hour-long music tracks to aid sleep or meditation
  • Headspace – A mobile app with meditations and advice about mental health.
  • BBC Sounds – Check out the BBC’s mindful mixes of calm music.

Make a difference to local lives

could provide a patient with a delicious home cooked meal, prepared according to their individual dietary requirements.
could help provide a patient like Pete with an hour of care and comfort in their own home, day or night.
could help provide an hour of specialist end-of-life care and emotional support for someone in their last days of life.