Study: Poor Sleep May Decrease Survival Rates In Colon Cancer Patients

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Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night is really good for a person's health, as discussed in this infographic. A solid night of sleep helps people regulate weight, stress and life much better. Now there is evidence sleep can even help cancer patients. A new study found colon cancer patients who slept well had a higher chance for surviving cancer. 

In the study, researchers studied 237 colon cancer patients who were on average sixty years old. The researchers gave them wrist activity monitors and also had them fill out a questionnaire about their sleep. About half had disrupted sleep cycles and around two-thirds reported a sleep complaint on the questionnaire. 

The results proved sleep plays an incredibly important role in survival. Patients who reported no sleep issues and showed no disturbance on their activity monitor survived 28 months on average. On the other hand, patients who reported both sleep issues and had disturbances on their activity monitors lived an average of 12 months. 

"Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers whose risk is increased in individuals with sleep alterations and circadian disruption," Dr. Pasquale F. Innominato, the lead author, said. "Patients who complained of sleep problems and circadian disruption have worse survival." 

Why does sleep have such a huge affect on survival? Because when people sleep, their cells work more efficiently while they're awake. Cells that work more efficiently lead to better healing. As Dr. Innominato said in the presentation, this study shows that improving sleep quality in cancer survivors may soon be emphasized.  

Remember, the best way to prevent colon cancer is to get regularly screened.

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