With our modern hectic lifestyle, we knowingly or unknowingly deprive our body of proper rest and sleep. The body needs to rest and recuperate every night in order to avoid health complications. But if you suffer from insomnia, or sleep deprivation, you may not be getting the required number of sleep hours.
Several studies have already proven the ill effects of erratic sleep on physiological as well as mental health of a person; but new studies reveal that sleep deprivation may also be linked to elevated cancer risk.
Sleep Deprivation and Colorectal Cancer Risk
Sleep deprivation could lead to the development of polyps in the rectum or colon, a study reveals. Those who sleep less than 6 hours are at a higher risk of developing these polyps than those who get sufficient sleep. This study was published in October, 2010 in the journal Cancer. Polyps refer to abnormal growths which can be detected through colonoscopy. These polyps further develop into cancer.
A total of 1240 people, who came for routine colonoscopy, were studied by researchers at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland. Amongst them, a total of 338 people, i.e. 27% of the total patients, suffered from polyps. While analyzing the sleeping patterns of the patients, researchers found that those who had less than six hours of sleep had higher number of polyps while those who had more sleep had less number of polyps.
Sleep Deprivation and Breast cancer Risk
A study conducted by Dr. Cheryl Thompson of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment establishes a link between sleep deprivation and the risk of aggressive breast cancer tumors. Many previous studies have linked sleep deprivation with cancer risk, obesity and heart conditions; however, this study further underscores the fact that less hours of sleep can cause severely aggressive tumors in women who are already suffering from breast cancer.
For this study, researchers divided the patients into three groups; those who slept less than 6 hours, those who slept between 6-7 hours, and those who slept more than 7 hours. A total of 412 post-menopausal women were studied, all of whom were recruited for the study during their first diagnosis. After studying their sleep patterns for 2 years, researchers concluded that the group who slept less than 6 hours had higher scores of tumor recurrence.
According to Dr. Thompson, one explanation for the study results could be the fact that during sleep the body initiates repair at the cellular level, and this is severely hampered due to sleep deprivation. Dr. Thompson strongly believes that not only is it important to exercise and eat healthy, but sleeping well is also important for overall health.
Sleep Deprivation and Prostate Cancer Risk
According to a study published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, men who are sleep deprived are twice at risk for developing prostate cancer than those who get enough sleep. This association was stronger in cases of advanced prostate cancer and severe sleep deprivation. The study questioned nearly 2500 Icelandic men regarding their sleep patterns. The medical histories of these men were also studied to understand the relationship between disturbed sleep and prostate cancer. The results clearly established a link between erratic and less sleep with higher prostate cancer risk. Compared to men who had no trouble sleeping, those with disturbed sleeping patterns were 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer.
The above studies clearly show how important adequate sleep is for the healthy functioning of the body. Consuming a good diet and exercising may not be enough to keep you healthy if you are not catching up on your Zzzz’s.
Author Bio: Sameer Gupta is a medical writer who writes well-researched, in-depth cancer articles which provide relevant information to help patients combat the deadly disease.