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Quality sleep

Poor quality, disrupted sleep leads to more aggressive and faster growing tumors

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by: Reuben Chow
Tags: quality sleep, cancer treatment, breast cancer

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(NaturalNews) When you lack sleep, you could feel tired, distracted, and irritable. Your ability to concentrate would be diminished and your immune system would not be functioning at an optimal level, leaving you more susceptible to infections and diseases. Now, recent research has revealed that poor quality sleep could cause cancerous tumors to be more aggressive and grow at a quicker rate.

The study, which was published in the journal Cancer Research, had involved looking at two groups of mice. One group of mice were allowed proper and peaceful sleep during daytime - being nocturnal creatures, this is normal for them - while the other group of mice constantly had their sleep disrupted by motorized brushes that swept through their cages every two minutes. The mice in the latter group were thus constantly awakened from their sleep and could not enjoy a good rest. This took place daily for seven days.

At the end of the week, both groups of mice were injected with tumor cells. Within a period of nine to 12 days, all of the mice developed tumors. What was very telling was that the tumors on the mice which had disrupted sleep were double the size of the tumors on the mice which were allowed to rest undisturbed.

Further, the tumors on the sleep-disturbed mice were also more aggressive and more likely to spread to surrounding tissues.

Disrupted sleep affects the immune system

The growth rate and aggressiveness of tumors could be linked to immune function - more specifically, to how disrupted sleep could impair the healthy function of the immune system. Mice with disturbed sleep were found to have more M2-type tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), while those which slept well had more M1-TAMs; the latter were known to help with improving immune response and fighting cancer cells, whereas the former inhibited immune response and promoted tumor growth.

"It's not the tumor, it's the immune system. Fragmented sleep changes how the immune system deals with cancer in ways that make the disease more aggressive. This study offers biological plausibility to the epidemiological associations between perturbed sleep and cancer outcomes," said David Gozal, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital and a member of the study team.

"The take home message is to take care of your sleep quality and quantity like you take care of your bank account," he added.

Such good advice applies to everyone, whether you are looking to prevent cancer or in the process of fighting a cancer diagnosis. Cancer sufferers, in particular, are known to have problems with sleeping well, and particular attention needs to be paid to improving sleep quality.

Meditation, regular exercise, stress management, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and herbal teas such as chamomile and valerian are some good ways to help promote restful sleep. Sleeping in the dark also helps - doing so promotes the production of melatonin by the pineal gland, and this hormone regulates one's sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin has also been shown in recent research to help lower prostate cancer risk and slow down the growth of breast cancer.

Sources for this article include:


Alschuler, Lise N, ND, FABNO, and Gazella, Karolyn A. The Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing. 3rd ed. NY, USA: Celestial Arts, 2010. Print.


About the author:
Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth.

Subscribe to his natural health newsletter or follow his health websites on Facebook.

His main health websites Insights on Health and All 4 Natural Health focus on being healthy naturally, while his other health websites cover topics such as cancer, depression, holistic depression help, as well as omega 3 fatty acids. He also owns self improvement and inspirational websites like Inspiration 4 Living, allinspiration.com, Life Changing Quotes, and 101 Inspirational Ideas. Through his network of sites at The Journey of Life, he hopes to help improve people's lives.

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