Sleep deprivation can increase colorectal cancer risk

By Tom Nordlie • Published: January 28th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

There’s not much that’s good about not getting a good night’s sleep.

Chronic sleep deprivation is already associated with increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and death.

Now, it seems that getting less than forty winks per night may increase the danger of developing colorectal tumors.

Scientists reporting in the journal Cancer said they found a link between lack of sleep and the presence of benign growths called adenomas [add-NO-muhz].

Adenomas arise from the colon’s interior lining. Over time, they can become cancerous.

In the study, researchers evaluated more than twelve-hundred adults, all of them scheduled for colonoscopies.

None of the participants had been previously diagnosed with cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.

As part of an overall health profile, they answered an extensive questionnaire about their sleeping habits during the previous month.

Later, when doctors reviewed the colonoscopies, they found adenomas in about one-fourth of the total study group.

Participants who averaged less than six hours’ sleep per night had a fifty percent higher incidence of adenomas, compared with those who slept seven hours or more.

Adenomas were associated with other factors, too.

They were more common in older people, and in men. African-Americans were more likely to be diagnosed than Caucasians.

And smokers were more likely to be diagnosed than nonsmokers.

One odd finding… a family history of colorectal cancer didn’t seem to affect the chances of developing adenomas.

The lesson here is, getting a full night’s sleep can have all sorts of benefits.

So skip the late-night T-V, fluff up that pillow and set a course for dreamland.

At the very least, you deserve to wake up well-rested.