Disrupted Sleep Could Promote Cancer

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Have you been getting enough rest lately? You know, sleep is one of the essential needs to be able to function properly. There are so many things happening in sleep, and if it wasn’t that important, just think on this: Evolution still hasn’t found a way around it. Bad news, though. There are some new findings in neuroscience that have the focus on the following words: Disrupted. Sleep. Cancer.

Yep, according to a study emerging from the University of Chicago published just earlier this month, disrupted sleep could possibly accelerate the growth of cancer due to the toll that our immune system takes.

The experiments undertaken by the team involved two groups of nocturnal lab-mice. One group was allowed to sleep peacefully during the day. On the other hand, the other group was disturbed every two minutes with a motor that swept through their cages, forcing them into a sort of intermittent sleep, where they woke up and fell asleep in repeated succession. This lasted for a week.

If you haven’t had enough sleep for the night, you’d be one cranky guy the next morning. Now imagine not being able to get good sleep for a week! Yeah, on top of this, the cranky mice were injected with tumor cells too, which were allowed to develop for four weeks. Yeah, scrap that. It’s probably been a devastating month for these mice.

After those four weeks, the scientists observed the tumors in the mice. It turned out that the tumors in the mice that weren’t sleeping that well were twice as large as the ones on the mice that were.

In a similar experiment, except this time on muscle cells, the results were also congruent. This time, the tumors spread aggressively into muscle and bone.

The researchers deem the immune system as the culprit here. The well-rested mice seemingly had more immune system cells that prevented the growth of cancer. On the other hand, the sleepless mice had more cells that inhibited the immune system, thereby allowing the growth of tumors.

The study concluded that the effects of sleep deprivation were directly linked to the promotion of growth of cancer cells in the body. With the lack of cancer-fighting immune system cells, our bodies are very vulnerable. Dr. Gozal, the chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago tells readers to take heed. “Take care of your sleep quality and quantity like you take care of your bank account.”