A Link Between Lack Of Sleep And Cancer?

A Link Between Lack Of Sleep And Cancer?

Lack of sleep and cancer

Channelnewsasia talks about studies linking lack of sleep and cancer in an article published 18 Oct 23. Citing medical studies and doctor opinions, the article highlights that lack of sleep not only contributes to serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, but may increase the risk of contracting cancer as well. In Singapore, it is estimated that cancer will strike 1 in 4 people in their lifetimes. Cancer is also the top killer in Singapore. To make matters worse, many cancers are “silent” and do not present any symptoms in the early stages.

Lack Of Sleep Is An Issue Affecting Many Singaporeans

The Channelnewsasia article cites two studies that indicate that many Singaporeans are sleep deprived:

  • Based on a 2022 YouGov study –73% of Singaporeans surveyed were getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, with over 30% getting 5 to 6 hours only.
  • ResMed’s latest global sleep survey, which included Singapore residents, showed that 80% of people surveyed had symptoms of sleep disruption.

The Link Between Lack Of Sleep And Cancer

Which Cancers May Have Elevated Risks Due To Lack Of Sleep?

The risk of contracting the following cancers may be increased by having insufficient sleep:

How Cancer May Result From Poor Quality Or Insufficient Sleep

This link between lack of sleep and cancer is not fully understood. One possible explanation is that poor quality or insufficient sleep causes disruptions to our internal body clock (circadian rhythm). Such disruptions can increase the production of stress hormones, resulting in damage to our cells. This may in turn lead to chronic inflammation and facilitates the development of cancer. Lack of quality sleep may also reduce our immunity, making less more susceptible to cancer.

A Cancer journal study details a study that showed that:

  • People who get less than 6 hours of sleep each night has a 41% higher risk of cancer compared to those who get 6 to 8 hours each night.
  • People who do not nap during the day had a 60% higher risk of cancer than those who nap for more than an hour a day.
  • People who get less than 7 hours of sleep a day in total had a 69% higher risk of cancer than those who get 7 to 8 total hours of sleep a day.

Getting extra hours of sleep over weekends might not reduce the increase in likelihood of cancer as our bodies operate on 24-hours cycles and putting off sleep to the weekends may not offset the damage that is done on a daily basis.

Cancer Prevention And Cancer Screening

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, risks of contracting cancer may be reduced via healthy living and regular cancer screening. Learn more about the important of cancer screening in our article on health screening.

Protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases with regular health screening. Compare and shop for health screenings from Singapore and regional healthcare providers at a single convenient platform - shop.health365.sg

This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.