Disrupted Sleep Can Speed Up Cancer

Mother and Child NappingDisrupted sleep marked by poor-quality sleep and frequent awakenings can cause cancer to grow more aggressively and more quickly, suggests a new study published in the journal Cancer Research. Previous research on sleep apnea has also linked the condition, which is marked by disrupted sleep, to an increased risk of death from cancer.

To investigate the association between disrupted sleep and increased cancer incidence and mortality for the present study, researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Louisville used a rodent model in which all the mice received the same cancer-inducing treatment. All the mice developed tumors.

After disrupting the sleep in half the mice, the researchers discovered that the immune systems of the sleep-disrupted mice were less effective at fighting the early stages of cancer than the immune systems of the well-rested mice. The tumors in the sleep-disrupted mice had grown twice as large within the same time period as the mice whose sleep was not disrupted.

In other words, disturbed sleep negatively affects the immune system and other body systems. The majority of experts believe that to be mentally healthy, a person should sleep six to eight hours every day. An individual who is not getting proper sleep every night should seek remedies to promote good sleep. A few of these methods include doing tiring physical activities, reducing screen time, and in some cases, vaping CBD e liquid can also aid in good sleep.

Moreover, a person who is unable to sleep is more likely to develop cancer. In such cases, a sub-optimal immune system is less able to control or eradicate early cancers, meaning that early cancer grows faster and more aggressively. Thus, disrupted sleep can speed up the growth and development of cancer.

Sleep can be attained through different means but one of the most crucial ways to attain it is by changing your mattress and pillows. YES, YOU HEARD IT RIGHT! If you were not aware of this earlier, then you should better be focussed while reading this: there is a high chance that your Mattress and Pillows Could Be Sabotaging Your Sleep. If you wake up with congestion or find it difficult to breathe at night, then there might be dust and grime build-up in your triggering a sudden allergic reaction without your realization. Likewise, if you are waking up every morning with stiffness in your body or a backache, then you know who to blame– of course, your mattress. A firm mattress can put too much pressure on your body, resulting in these issues. That said, if you are suffering from any of these problems, it might be time to change your pillows and your mattress (check out Sleepify to find the best options related to the latter). After all, you deserve a good night’s sleep to replenish your body. (Otherwise, you would soon fall prey to Cancer-like deadly diseases).


However, if you still do not find a positive change in your sleep-related issues after replacing your bedding, it would be a good idea to consult with a somnologist (sleep doctor) as the medical specialist could help you with medications for better sleep. Besides this, you could also include physical activity in your schedule. As you are drained of energy by the end of the day, it can help you sleep better. Along with keeping cancer at bay, your overall health could be improved if sleep is prioritized.

Therefore, taking adequate sleep is essential to avoiding health problems like diabetes, memory problems, hypertension, weight gain, and cancer. People who are having sleep problems may need to look for ways to relax their minds and sleep faster. As an example, some people use cannabis extracts like rosin (extracted using rosin press bags) to relieve stress and sleep better. In a similar vein, there are other methods that can assist sleep-deprived individuals in getting good sleep.

Explains study director David Gozal, MD, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, “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.”


The difference in the tumor growth between the two groups of mice appears to be the result of cells from the immune system called tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). The well-rest mice had primarily M1-type TAMs while the sleep-disrupted mice had primarily M2-type TAMs. M1 cells promote a strong immune response and can eliminate tumors cells. M2 cells suppress the immune response and instead promote the growth of new blood vessels, which encourages tumor growth.

The study, however, also discovered a potential drug therapy that could help treat early cancers: “Fortunately, our study also points to a potential drug target. Toll-like receptor 4, a biological messenger, helps control activation of the innate immune system. It appears to be a lynchpin for the cancer-promoting effects of sleep loss. The effects of fragmented sleep that we focused on were not seen in mice that lacked this protein.”

Concludes Dr. Gozal, “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 like you take care of your bank account.”

Getting enough high-quality sleep appears important for preventing and reducing early cancer. Individuals with sleep apnea should seek treatment to decrease the risk of death from cancer.


Disrupted sleep speeds up cancer:
Fragmented sleep accelerates cancer growth:
Fragmented sleep accelerates tumor growth and progression through recruitment of tumor-associated macrophages and TLR4 signaling:

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Written by Heather

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, homemaker, homeschooler, and mother.

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