link between sleep loss and cancer

The Surprising Link Between Sleep Loss and Cancer

Crestview Dental Health Leave a Comment

link between sleep loss and cancerKnoxville and Maryville, TN

These days, we all seem to live busy lives. Between work, family, and fun activities, there appears to be little time for sleep. But, even if you seem to fit in enough hours, are you receiving the quality sleep that your body and brain need to thrive?

Not getting the right amount of sleep could kill you. Medical research has indicated a possible link between lack of sleep and the development of cancer cells in the body.

In a study completed in 2003, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School determined a link between the risk of breast cancer and the level of melatonin, a hormone the body produces to promote continued sleep. As levels of melatonin decrease, the body produces more estrogen, a greater quantity of which increases the risk of breast cancer.

Men are not in the clear either. Subsequent studies have linked sleep issues to prostate cancer. Specifically, patients with moderate sleep problems have been found to have almost double the risk of developing prostate cancer. Patients with severe sleep issues are three times as likely to develop cancer as men who get proper sleep every night.

Multiple research studies showing the link between sleep patterns and possible cancer growth make it vital that each of us gets enough quality rest every night. One of the greatest potential disruptions of sleep is a sleep breathing disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes partially or completely blocked, cutting off the air supply. Your body initiates a “fight or flight” reaction that disrupts the sleep cycle and rouses a person from the deepest stage of the sleep cycle. The brain is alerted as the body does not intake enough oxygen. In other words, the brain wakes up to tell the body to breathe.

At Crestview Dental Care, our sleep apnea dentists have the special training to diagnose a sleep breathing disorder through an airway evaluation. We can also treat sleep-breathing disorders by prescribing a custom-made oral appliance or a course of myofunctional therapy—a series of simple exercises of the muscles of the face and mouth—that widens the airway, and encourages nasal breathing. An oral appliance helps reposition the lower jaw to prevent it from falling backward during sleep. This forward positioning of the jaw helps facilitate an open airway – no noisy CPAP machine needed!

Getting the proper amount of sleep helps you maintain a better mood, have a stronger immune system, and benefit from a stronger mental capacity. Now we have medical evidence that getting enough sleep allows you to fight the development of cancer.

You owe it to yourself to do what you can to make sure you are getting proper rest. If you or a member of your family snores loudly and suffers from excessive daytime fatigue, these are strong indicators a sleep breathing disorder is present. Contact the Crestview Dental Care office at (865) 982-1700 to schedule a consultation and possible airway evaluation.

Crestview Dental Care is here to serve patients in the areas of Maryville and Knoxville in east Tennessee.

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