Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israeli Study: Proper Sleep Helps Fight Cancer

Scientists discover link between sleep and cancer growth

By: Zak Edwards

Published: February 19th, 2014 in Health » Israel

To beat cancer, you may just need to sleep on it. Scientists in a joint US-Israeli study have found a link between healthy sleeping habits and the body’s natural abilities to fight cancer, reports the Times of Israel.

Dr. Fahed Hakim of Rambam Medical Center has spent two years working with the University of Chicago and the University of Louisville to find the link between cancer and sleep. The results is the first study to definitively argue that “unsound sleep can cause tumors to become more aggressive, invasive, and intensive.”

While other findings in the past have recognized the need for regular rest, this study is the first to look at fragmented and disrupted sleep specifically.

“I do not want people to panic and think that waking up occasionally in the middle of the night will cause cancer,” Dr. Hakim said, “But the study is very clear. People need to sleep.”

The study is based off observations of two sets of mice that had malignant tumours. The first were allowed to sleep soundly, the second were disrupted regularly. After a month, the tumours for the disrupted mice were twice as big as those allowed to sleep. They were also more aggressive and invaded the surrounding bone and muscle tissue of the mice.

David Gozal, who also worked on the research, says that “this study offers biological plausibility to the epidemiological associations between perturbed sleep and cancer outcomes. The take-home message is to take care of your sleep quality and quantity.”

So what are Dr. Hakim’s tips for a long and healthy sleep? Surprisingly, they are nothing profound: unwind before bed, and a caffeine-free cup of tea won’t hurt.
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