Can a good night’s sleep protect you from prostate cancer?
Recent research presented at the American Association of Cancer Research Prostate Cancer Conference suggests that having enough sleep may reduce the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
Lack of sleep is a national problem – according to the NHS, about one in three of us struggles with poor quality or straightforward lack of sleep. This doesn’t just mean that we are grumpy and below par – it can affect our health in more serious ways.
Not getting enough sleep can result in weight gain, increase your risk of developing diabetes and may lead to raised blood pressure.
Lack of sleep can also reduce our levels of the hormone melatonin. The new research, carried out using data from 928 Icelandic men, found that the men with higher melatonin levels had a 75 per cent reduced risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.
About prostate cancer
Knowing some of the facts about prostate cancer will help you understand it, know what to look out for and what to do if you think you may be affected.
Here are a few facts about the most common male cancer in the UK. Around 250,000 men in the UK are living with this condition, 40,000 are diagnosed with it each year and over 10,000 die because of it every year.
Early symptoms include needing to go to the toilet often (especially at night), having a weak flow, having difficulty passing urine and feeling that your bladder hasn’t completely emptied. These symptoms don’t mean that you have prostate cancer – there are other conditions that can cause them – but they do mean that you should see your GP.
A better night’s sleep
If you are struggling with poor sleep, or simply aren’t getting enough sleep, there are things you can do to help improve your nights.
- Are you getting enough exercise during the day? You don’t have to be running a marathon just taking regular, moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or playing doubles tennis, for at least 150 minutes a week (or 30 minutes over five days).
- Have a bedtime routine – keeping to regular bed and waking-up times may help your body develop a sleep rhythm.
- Make your bedroom a calm place to be – remove the clutter, make it a no technology zone, and check your mattress and pillows for comfort.
- Don’t eat a lot late at night, and steer clear of caffeine and alcohol.
- Do something relaxing before you go to bed – listen to some gentle music or do some breathing exercises.
- If you have something on your mind that’s bothering you, write it down or make a list of things you need to do the following day. Transferring those thoughts to paper can help.