Monday, February 27, 2012 – Did you know that not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of getting cancer? With our crazy busy lives more often than not we average close to six hours of sleep instead of the suggested eight hours.
How well we sleep can determine how well our body can fight cancer. Two hormones – cortisol and melatonin – that can influence how cancer cells behave can be affected by sleep.
- Cortisol is known to help the immune system in releasing cells that can help battle cancer. After a good night’s sleep cortisol levels will usually peak at dawn and slowly dissipate throughout the day. If you do sleep eight hours but wake up often you may have abnormal levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress” hormone. Leading a stress-free life can definitely help, since it will keep cortisol levels down. In different studies cortisol has been known to play an important part in the development and worsening of cancer.
- Melatonin is produced while you sleep and its antioxidant properties can help prevent damage to cells that can lead to cancer. Another benefit of having normal melatonin levels is that it will lower the estrogen that is produced by the ovaries. So by not getting enough sleep will lead to low levels of melatonin. So lack of sleep or not enough sleep can lead to high levels of estrogen which can increase the risk of breast cancer in women.
So remember to eat well, sleep well and get enough exercise.