Staying healthy is a goal for all of us. Cancer is a word dreaded by many. Which is why it is important to do everything we can to stay healthy and keep cancer out of the picture. It turns out that having a healthy and consistent sleep schedule could help you keep cancer at bay. Keep reading to learn more along with some of our top tips on getting great sleep.
Natural Killer Cells & Sleep:
What does sleep deprivation have to do with cancer? It all comes back to preventing cancerous cells from going rogue. Abnormalities in cells often occurs in all of our bodies. However, in healthy bodies during our sleep natural killer cells find these abnormal cells and kills them. This is all a part of a normal and healthy immune system. However, a lack of sleep can hinder this process.
In a study there were two groups of mice given cancer cells. One group of mice were able to sleep as much as they please throughout the night. While the other group was limited on sleep. The group of sleep deprived mice experienced a 200% increase in cancer cell development speed and size. This was in only a single night of sleep deprivation.
Having a hard time with insomnia? Check out our post: Guide To Insomnia
Night Shift Work & Cancer
Unfortunately one of the most well documented forms of sleep deprivation is with those who work night shifts. This change in schedule often leads to a lack of sleep overall. The World Health Organization has classified nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen. This is astounding and honestly worrying for anyone who works these kinds of hours.
As far as research shows thus far, the main reason why shift work is so hard on the body is mostly due to stress and lack of sleep. If you can manage your sleep and stress accordingly there is the potential that this kind of work schedule may be less damaging. However, it is not recommended by any means and goes to show that proper sleep is vital for avoiding cancer.
Working nights? Get our top tips on how to get better sleep in our post: The Best Sleep Schedule For Night Shift
Immune System & Sleep:
It isn’t just cancer that is affected by your lack of sleep. Your entire immune system is impacted when you do not get enough rest. In order for your immune system to remain strong and do everything it needs to, you need to get the proper amount of sleep each night.
This not only plays a part in how your immune system is about to defend itself against cancer cells. It also affects how your body is able to defend itself against the common cold and viruses as well.
Learn more about how sleep supports a healthy immune system in our post: Sleep and Your Immune System
Sleep Deprivation & Cancer – What can you do?
Get Enough Sleep Every Night:
The question often comes up next is… How much sleep do you really need? According to the National Institute of Health the average adult should get 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night.
Our modern lives are often busy and fast paced, leaving very little time for getting enough sleep each night. However, we promise that cancer slows you down far more than getting enough sleep does. While there are many people these does boasting about how little sleep they can run off of, keep in mind that the body can do many great things but it often comes with sacrifices.
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Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule:
When it comes to giving your body what it needs as far as sleep in order to remain healthy. Consistency with your sleep schedule it vital. Once you have created a schedule where you can have 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
The American Cancer Society advices that you keep your sleep schedule consistent. By that, they specifically recommend going to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
Yes, this includes weekends when many of us choose to “catch up” on sleep. Instead, try to always get the amount of sleep you sleep and perhaps schedule naps if you need to catch up.
This keeps your circadian rhythm very happy and helps your body’s immune system remain strong.
Click the link to start fixing your sleep schedule today: How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Don’t Work Night Shifts:
While this tip should be obvious by now, especially with the World Health Organization declaring night shift work as a likely carcinogen and all. We still feel the need to reinforce the fact that working the night shift and forcing your circadian rhythm to constantly adjust and readjust to the switched schedule is hard on the body and your immune system.
We understand that night shifts, especially for medical staff is vital work that needs to be done. However, if this is a line of work that you want to do we suggest limiting it as much as possible and eventually cutting it out completely. Especially if you are susceptible to developing cancer, or trying to avoid relapsing.
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Lower Stress Every Night & Morning:
It is believed that stress is also linked to cancer. However, it can also easily ruin a good night’s sleep. Which is why we recommend decompressing and letting go of stress before heading off to sleep every night. As well as starting your day out in a low stress way.
This way even when stress enters your life throughout the day, you are letting it go every night and attempting to start your day as relaxed and peaceful as possible.
The Connection Between Cancer & Sleep Deprivation – Final Thoughts:
If you are anything like us here at Our Sleep Guide, then you never need an excuse to get a good night’s rest. However, with all of this new information on sleep deprivation and how it so closely relates to cancer… There has never been a better reason to ensure that you get the full 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night.
We hope this post has given you a brief peak into how your body uses sleep to defend itself against cancer. if you ever have any questions, feel free to message us through out contact us page. We would be happy to help in any way we can.
If you or someone you know is currently going through cancer treatments, then you may be interested in our post on how to get better sleep during treatment. Click here to read.