Cancer and a Good Night’s Sleep


In recent weeks I’ve talked about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep—for both kids and adults.


Here’s another reason to get regular shut-eye.  It could decrease your chance of dying from cancer.


Fox News is reporting on a new study from the journal Cancer Research.  It found that poor quality of sleep marked by frequent waking can actually speed cancer growth and increase the disease’s aggressiveness.


In this study, researchers experimented with genetically engineered mice that had been injected with tumor cells.


As the mice slept during the day, a quiet, motorized brush moved through half of the cages every two minutes – forcing some of the mice to wake up and go back to sleep.  The other mice were not disturbed as they slept.


After four weeks, the researchers found that the tumors in the mice with interrupted sleep patterns were twice as large as the tumors in the mice that had slept normally.


One of the researchers was Dr. David Gozal, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital.  He cautions that poor sleep can significantly alter the immune system.


He says, “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.”


True confessions—I do a morning radio show, and I haven’t exactly been a good role model when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.  This study provides one more reason why I should be getting seven to eight hours per night!


By the way, the National Sleep Foundation has some great information on how to get a good night’s sleep, including how to treat insomnia and sleep apnea.  Their website is



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