Monday, December 08, 2008

Is Sleep a Cancer Fighter?

news you may not know

That's it - Fight the Good Fight...

It's a tough choice. Especially during an election year. Dave, Jay, and the other late-nighters are on a tear, with no political personality being off limits. But, are the laughs worth losing sleep over?

Researchers say definitely not. Sleep, it seems, not only soothes the souls, but offers terrific protection against a myriad of diseases, including cancer.

A Maryland study, reported at the American Association for Cancer Research, followed the health of just under 6,000 women. The women were between 18 and 65. The scientists were especially interested in the effect exercise plays in health. But, when they compared health variations among only the most active portion of women, they found some surprising results.

Sleep. Those women who not only exercised regularly, but also got adequate sleep, had a significantly lower risk of devolping cancer. In fact, women who slept less than seven hours each night, had a 47 perecnt higher risk of developing cancer.

The scientists speculate the body is more susceptible to cancer when it's deprived of adequate rest, though the underlying mechanism is unclear. But, in light of recent trends, the news is disturbing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Controal and Prevention reports more Americans are sleeping less than six hours per night now than in 1985.

Past research has also shown chronic sleep loss correlates with numerous health difficulties, including obesity, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and poor lifestyle choices, like smoking and drinking.

So, while the late night laughs may be great fun, don't push it too far. When it comes to your health, don't let the last laugh to be on you.

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about getting a good night's sleep, see this from the National Sleep Foundation.


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