(NaturalNews) If you've been exercising to lower your risk of cancer, you should know that logging those extra hours on the treadmill may not do as much good if you aren't logging in enough hours of sleep, too. A recent study shows that getting at least seven hours of sleep nightly can maximize the cancer prevention benefits in physically active women. This information was presented at the November 2008 cancer prevention meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Researchers who were a part of the study reviewed the information on 5,968 Maryland women. In 1998, these women answered detailed questions regarding their activity level and typical sleep habits. Cancer statistics in the group were tracked over the following nine years. During this time, 604 new cancer cases were reported in the group.
In women between the ages of 18 and 65, those who slept at least seven hours per night in addition to averaging about an hour per day of moderate exercise were 47 percent less likely to have cancer compared to women who averaged less sleep at the same activity level.
Dr. James McClain from the Cancer Prevention Institute says, "What that suggests to us is among younger and middle-aged women, both physical activity and sleep habits might play an important role in reducing cancer risk." McClain points out the full cancer prevention benefit comes from being active and getting enough rest, not just sleeping more without exercise. But he adds, "Getting adequate sleep has been long associated with health."
In fact, lack of sleep has been linked to serious conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and depression. The fact that sleep may help to prevent cancer in active women is just another reason to make an effort to catch those extra hours when you can.
Dr. McClain makes a suggestion: "You might want to think about your lifestyle as a whole. Think about multiple lifestyle behaviors in more of a holistic perspective." And that makes perfect sense. It's rare that one singular action can prevent all disease, but when you combine many healthy lifestyle habits you have a much better chance of maintaining good health.
Physical activity, a balanced diet of natural foods, and proper stress management are some of the other factors that have a strong influence on your health. Incorporate these principles with a good night's sleep and you've given your body a fighting chance against modern disease.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...