May 9, 2016

369 Sleep & Cancer [9 May 2016]

Lack of quality sleep has long been associated with higher risks of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Now a number of studies have linked poor sleep with increased risk of, or poorer outcomes with, cancer in both men and women.

• A study published in Am Acad of Sleep Med, May 2014, found that sleep efficiency, defined as the ratio of time asleep to time spent in bed, is predictive of survival time for women with advanced breast cancer. The mechanism is unclear but it likely involves the immune system or hormone stress response.

• A study from U. Washington published in Am Acad of Sleep Med, June 2015, found that short sleep and frequent snoring was associated with poorer breast cancer survival.

• A study from Iceland published in May 2013 found that insomnia – trouble falling asleep and staying asleep – doubled the risk of prostate cancer (researchers ruled out insomnia caused by enlarged prostates getting the men up in the night).

• Other studies have found higher risk of breast or prostate cancer among shift workers, whose sleep is regularly disrupted.

• A study published in Cancer, February 2011, found that getting less than 6 hours of sleep increased the risk of colorectal adenomas (a type of colon cancer) by almost 50%.

• A mouse study from Spain suggests a possible mechanism for poor sleep resulting in worse outcomes with cancer. Obstructive sleep apnea is known to cause intermittent hypoxia (low oxygen levels) which is known to promote the growth of blood vessels in tumors. This could also explain why exercise and not smoking, both of which increase oxygen levels, improve cancer outcomes (European Assoc. of Urology, March 2016).

All this should be a wake-up call for the importance of sleep! (sorry, just had to get that in). We carry a variety of natural sleep aids that are non-habit forming and help you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. Have a good sleep, everyone!

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. See this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.

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