Chronic illness mixed with poor sleep increases risk of cancer and death

Good Day Dakota

We often hear about the importance of getting the proper amount of sleep, but a new study shows that people who have a chronic illness and are lacking in sleep have even more to worry about.

This new research shows that if you suffer from high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or any existing heart disease and you aren’t getting at least 6 hours of sleep you are at an increased risk of cancer and even death.

People who had a history of heart disease or a stroke and didn’t get enough sleep were 3 times more likely to die from cancer. The research isn’t saying that lack of sleep will cause cancer, but it will make anyone dealing with any heart condition more vulnerable. Our immune systems are linked to our sleep and when you are sleeping poorly it can cause inflammation.

Sanford Health Director of Sleep Services Nikki Mills says, “That’s looking at more people who work more shift work and when it interferes with our biological clock and circadian rhythm who’s not always sleeping when it’s dark outside and then we have those different hormones that are released in your body when you are going to bed when it’s dark like melatonin, cortisol– it’s those hormones that interfere with those and that’s who the National Sleep Foundation shows to be higher risk for cancer.”

This is now the fourth study that backs up these claims, and these types of people are twice as likely to die. To make matters worse nearly 45-percent of Americans suffer from either type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or both.

Mills says, “It’s definitely a problem. People that have diabetes once again too is they aren’t getting good sleep so they are not getting into the sleep where you have the hormones releasing and your blood glucose levels and that deeper level of sleep and if you are not getting into that sleep then your body can not be functioning well. We always say if you aren’t sleeping well you aren’t feeling well.”

If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep and do suffer from any of those chronic illnesses, they say the best thing to do is talk to a sleep specialist.

They also found that the risk of early death essentially disappeared in people who get 6 or more hours of sleep.

Here are some ways to try and get better sleep:

  • Sleep in cool temperatures: Between 60 and 67 degrees
  • Get rid of any bright lights: this includes TVs, cell phones, or just getting some blackout curtains.
  • Exercising at least 10 minutes a day can help you go to sleep.
  • Get in a routine before bed: Do something like read a book or taking a shower.

They also say stay away from alcohol, soda, and rich-fatty foods.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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