Ways that sleep can impact your susceptibility of getting cancer Paradise Organics

Ways that sleep can impact your susceptibility of getting cancer

It's no secret that a good night's sleep is important for our overall health.  Who doesn't love waking up after a good nights sleep feeling well rested and ready for the day!  But did you know that not getting enough sleep can actually put you at a higher risk of developing cancer?

We know that smoking cigarettes, exposure to UV radiation, and a family history are all general risk factors that can make someone more susceptible to developing cancer,  Additionally, certain lifestyle choices, such as eating an unhealthy diet or not getting enough exercise, can also increase your cancer risk.   

The following are a few ways that sleep can impact your risk of getting cancer. 

Not getting enough sleep can result in poor immune function

If you're not getting enough sleep, it can take a toll on your immune system. When you're sleep deprived, your body doesn't have enough time to repair itself. Sleep, we know, is absolutely essential to the body’s cellular health. During sleep—especially during deep, slow-wave, sleep—the body goes to work to repair damaged cells and DNA, promote healthy new cell growth, fortify and strengthen the immune system. Sleep deprivation makes it harder for your body to recover from any infection. So if you do get sick, it will take you longer to get better.

Getting enough high quality sleep has been linked to slower cellular aging in healthy adults. Scientists measured cellular age using telomere length.  "Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes from becoming frayed or tangled. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres become slightly shorter. Eventually, they become so short that the cell can no longer divide successfully, and the cell dies." (National Human Genome Research Institute 2022)  Older adults who slept enough and slept well had longer telomeres—a sign of “younger” cells.

Another study found that not getting enough sleep increases damage to DNA, injury and dysfunction to cells, and increased risk for cell replication errors and premature dealth. (Breus, 2022)

We know that all cancer starts with out-of-control growth and replication of damaged, abnormal cells. And our DNA controls how our cells behave. See the connection?

Not enough sleep can lead to increased inflammation in the body

There is a strong link between poor sleep and increased inflammation. When you don't get enough sleep, your body's inflammatory response is increased. This can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  In one study, people who slept less than six hours a night had higher levels of inflammatory proteins than those who slept more than seven hours a night.

When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can also increase inflammation in the body and can contribute to weight gain & obesity.

Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity, which are risk factors for cancer

Obesity, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, is a major risk factor for cancer.  In fact, obesity is thought to be responsible for about 20% of all cancer deaths in the United States & is linked to an increased risk of developing at least 13 different types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer. The more overweight or obese you are, the greater your risk. 

Obesity can lead to cancer by altering hormone levels and promoting cell growth. Fat cells produce estrogen, which can promote the growth of certain types of cancer.

Obesity can lead to inflammation, which can promote the growth of cancer cells.

Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance, which can promote the growth of other types of cancer.

Maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to reduce the risk of cancer. Obesity is a major risk factor for cancer, so keeping your weight down is one of the best things you can do to prevent the disease. There are a number of ways to lose weight and keep it off, but the best approach for you will depend on your individual circumstances. Talk to your doctor about the best way for you to lose weight and keep it off. Develop a plan that fits your lifestyle and health needs. Remember, even a small amount of weight loss can make a big difference in your cancer risk. 

Poor sleep can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythms

Circadian rhythms are the daily fluctuations in our biological processes, and they are controlled by an internal “clock” that responds to light and dark cues from the environment.

There are many things that can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythms, including:

  1. Working the night shift or rotating shifts
  2. Exposure to artificial light at night 
  3. Jet lag from travel
  4. Staying up late to work or play
  5. Taking certain medications

These disruptions can lead to changes in hormone levels, cell division, and DNA repair, all of which may increase the risk of cancer.

Lack of sleep can disrupt melatonin production

Melatonin is an important hormone in the body that helps regulate sleep. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.  Low melatonin production has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Studies have shown that people with low levels of melatonin are more likely to develop cancer. The reason for this is not fully understood, but it may be due to the fact that melatonin helps repair DNA damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and lead to cancer. Therefore, low levels of melatonin may make cells more susceptible to free radical damage and cancer.

Taking a daily melatonin supplement may help protect against cancer by increasing levels of this important hormone in the body.

Sleep Well

To get a good night's sleep, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, establish a regular sleep schedule, and create a relaxing bedtime routine. You should also make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. If you have trouble falling asleep, try reading or listening to calm music. If you still can't sleep, get up and do something else until you feel tired.

There are many different supplements that can help you sleep better.  Some of the most effective sleep aids include melatonin, magnesium, and valerian root.  If you're struggling to get a good night's rest, consider trying one of these supplements to help you sleep better and feel more rested during the day.

Shop Our Sleep Collection HERE

The following is a list of things you can do to help ensure you get enough sleep and keep your circadian rhythms in check.

  1. Get enough sleep: Most people need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Avoid bright lights at night: This includes screens from TVs, laptops, and phones. Try to dim the lights in your home in the evening.
  3. Get exposure to natural light during the day: Spend time outside or near a window during the daytime.
  4. Exercise regularly: Exercise can help regulate your body's natural rhythms.

A final note…if you get too much sleep, you may also be at an increased risk for cancer. This is because people who sleep too much tend to have higher levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which has been linked to an increased risk for cancer. So, it's important to get enough sleep, but not too much.

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