Two Studies say “Sleep…or get cancer”

Two recent studies caught my eye this week.  The first showed lack of sleep increases risk of recurrent breast cancer and the second says sleep apnea increases risk of death from cancer.
insomnia causes cancer
The first study was the first of its kind looking at data from 412 patients that showed a “strong correlation between fewer hours of sleep per night and worse recurrence scores, specifically in post-menopausal breast cancer patients.”  6 hours seems to be the magic number.  Any less puts you at risk.  Since this is the first study to show this, obviously more data needs to be collected.

The second study looked at sleep apnea (a condition where breathing is stopped during sleep, and the oxygen level in your blood drops blocking your ability to sleep properly) and risk of dying from cancer in 5600 patients.  The worse the sleep apnea was, the more at risk patients were of dying from cancer.

While there is just a link discovered, and no causal association (ie Open umbrellas are seen when it rains, but open umbrellas don’t CAUSE the rain) it’s safe to say, you would be better off treating the sleep apnea and getting a good night’s sleep in general.  If not to improve your chances of survival from cancer, then to reduce your risk of:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • heart attack
  • depression
  • mood disorders
  • obesity
  • poor memory
  • poor immune function

My husband just got a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine for sleep apnea.  This machine attaches over his nose and forces air into his lungs, so breathing is never interrupted.  Those with sleep apnea are also usually very loud snorers.  No…VERY LOUD snorers.  I can see where sleep apnea would put someone at a high risk of dying from suffocation….by their SPOUSE.

The machine is amazing.  When he wears it, I can’t hear him at all.  In fact I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and because he’s so quiet, I have to hold a mirror next to his mouth.  (I love cops shows…)

In light of these two studies I though it would be helpful to direct you to my post “Who needs Sleep? I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead…(that may be sooner than you think if you don’t get enough sleep).

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to be healthy in mind AND body.  Don’t forget…they’re one.

Also, that saying “Sleep tight?” It’s not proper English…It should be “Sleep Tightly”.  That always bugged me.



Categories: breast cancer, cancer, health and wellness, healthy living blogs

Tags: , , , ,

12 replies

  1. My dog is thirteen years old, he is diabetic and now also has Cushings disease. He can’t go the full night without needing to go outside to empty his bladder. I go to bed at 10.30p.m. and usually read for an hour or more, then my dog will call me at 2.30a.m., 4.30a.m. and 7a.m. needing to go out. Thus I have very disturbed sleep and when I do get up finally around 8.30a.m./9a.m. I am very tired. Would it be a good idea for me to catch up on my sleep in the middle of the day?

    • You can try, but I don’t think it would help much (unless you can take an 8 hour nap) Sorry about your dog, but that schedule is a bit much. Can you put diapers on him just at night? Maybe limit his water intake after 6pm?
      I know you love your dog, (as I love mine) but should his health come before yours? This is something you will have to think about and maybe come up with an alternate plan.
      Good luck

  2. You’re funny. You wrote suffocation by SPOUSE. I need CPAP probably. I’m embarrassed to admit, but it’s true. Sigh. Sleep is important. I feel so much better when my baby sleeps through the night. Thanks also for visiting my blog. I love seeing you there and you put a smile on my face. Always.

  3. Interesting as always, m’dear, and love the pedant in you too! Btw, is disruption of protective melatonin production mentioned as a possible factor? Poor old shift-workers seem to be the biggest victims of crap sleep but if they could take melatonin to help make up for some of the disruption that would be good. And use a light box (as well as eat a protective diet etc)

  4. It was very interesting to ready this discovery of the relationsho between cancer and sleep. I try to seelp for 6 hours everyday during weekday and 7 hours or more on weekends. But I have some difficult ngihts to sleep in, not insomnia but close to that.

    I want to look into further information on this matter! Thank you for always sharing useful healh related info.

  5. ‘Sleep tight’ probably comes from having to ryhme with: ‘Good night’, Oh and : ‘Don’t let the bedbugs bite’ 😉
    But I’m with you on being bothered by the improper English. It has always ticked me off when people said “Anyways”, I know it’s slang, but it stilll just rubs me the wrong way and English isn’t even my first language.

  6. I was just looking over your piece on sleep for the book….it would be great to add some of this stuff in there…..the stuff about smothering and holding a mirror over his mouth is hilarious!

  7. Great post! I will definitely be sharing this. Sister, please check the link to this blog on your site, MOON Organics. There’s a URL typo in there…

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