Cancer linked to lack of sleep

Sleep deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

A 2008 study published in the British Journal of Cancer found women who slept fewer than six hours a night were more likely develop breast cancer, and a 2010 study published in the journal Cancer found those who slept fewer than six hours a night were more likely to have colorectal polyps, which can lead to colon cancer.

The biological mechanisms are unclear, but lack of sleep has been shown to boost levels of inflammation in the body and interfere with the immune response, both of which have been implicated in cancer.

“Sleep is restorative,” said Dyken. “And if you don’t get it, your health will suffer.”

Breast Cancer:

Are you setting the stage for Breast Cancer by getting too little or poor quality sleep? If not, you are not getting your nightly dose of melatonin. Breast Cancer is linked to the hormone melatonin which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Fluctuations in normal nighttime production of melatonin may be a predictor of whether or not we might develop breast cancer.

Melatonin is normally produced at night and makes us feel sleepy. Women who work night shifts, frequently change time zones, have insomnia, sleep in a room that is not dark, or just don’t get a good eight hours of sleep are not getting much exposure to melatonin. Research shows that melatonin can slow down breast cancer growth by as much as 70%. Melatonin supports anti-oxidant function in cells. Oxidative stress is a major contributor to cell changes and DNA damage that can lead to cancer.

Getting enough sleep also allows your immune system to increase the production of Natural Killer cells which specialize in destroying both cancer cells and viral infections. Adequate sleep is a contributor to normal immune function and crucial to cancer control.

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