Disrupted Sleep Speeds Up Tumor Growth

In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, a strong link was found between disrupted sleep and increased tumor growth and aggressiveness. These differences are believed to exist because of the impact of less sleep on the immune system. The study was conducted using mice and exposing them to two sleeping conditions. The mice were injected with tumor cells and then exposed to a disrupted sleep pattern and a regular sleep pattern. Mice that were woken up at two-minute intervals showed tumor growth at twice the rate of the mice that were allowed to sleep regularly. The tumor cells were injected into the thighs of the mice and those with disrupted sleep showed tumor cell movement into muscle and bone.

The team at the University of Chicago that conducted the study believes this occurred because of a decreased ability for the immune system to fight any infection. “It’s not the tumor, it’s the immune system,” said study director Dr. David Gozal. “Fragmented sleep changes how the immune system deals with cancer in ways that make the disease more aggressive.”

This is the first study that shows how fragmented sleep affects tumors rate of growth and aggression. The study was supported by a study in 2012 that showed a connection between sleep apnea and death from cancer. The positive result of this study is the finding of proper sleep being a way to prevent a high rate of cancerous tumor growth.

The main lesson in this study is to take care of your body by stabilizing your sleep patterns. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems. People with the correct amount of sleep and good quality sleep will have stronger immune systems that can fight infection and disease. This is important when you know you are fighting a disease, like cancer, but also when you are preventing illness in general.

If you regularly have disrupted sleep or your sleep patterns are not normal, contact the Fusion Sleep if you would like to schedule an evaluation of your sleeping patterns. We can work with you to increase your quality and quantity of sleep.