Are you suffering from insomnia? If your answer is yes then do you know insomnia can cause cancer? Here is why insomnia can lead to chronic diseases:
There is no denying about the importance of sleep. An average adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep every night in order to function properly. However, in this every growing world almost every one of us who has some kind of sleep difficulty in their life spans. There are several sleep disorders which can be problematic like talking in your sleep, sleepwalking and most dangerous of all insomnia. Insomnia is not a new word for most of the people nowadays but very few know that insomnia can cause cancer.
Almost every one of us is familiar with lack of sleep being known as insomnia. However, there is a fine line between a general sleep deprivation and insomnia. It can further lead to many of the dangerous disorder and can make you vulnerable. National Sleep Foundation found out that 30 to 40% or American adults reportedly have faced insomnia in past one year and 10 to 15% of American adults reported to have chronic insomnia. (National sleep foundation)
What is Insomnia?
You might be feeling sleep deprived for a few days due to some stresses in your life. However, insomnia is different in a way that it will keep you awake almost every night. Millions of people around the world are affected by insomnia. In this order, it is difficult for the person to fall asleep or stay asleep. It can affect almost every function in human body. You will feel sleepy, lethargic and generally irritable the whole day. It can make you exhausted, anxious and cranky for the rest of your day.
Signs and Symptoms
Sometimes, it becomes difficult for people to differentiate between a general sleep deprivation and insomnia. You can be sleep deprived due to a stressor, jet lag or even due to uncomfortable pillow or mattress. However, insomnia is different than all of these problems. There are a few signs and symptoms which help in diagnosing the disorder.
- Can’t fall sleep at night
- You have difficulty staying asleep once you have fallen asleep
- Tired even after a full night’s sleep
- Sleepiness during the day
- Lack of concentration and focus
- Being clumsy or uncoordinated
- Going to sleep becomes cause of stress
- Problems in Gastrointestinal system
- Increase in errors and accidents during the day
The symptoms can be even more dangerous than they appear. If you are not fully awake and fresh during the day, it will affect your performance in office. Chances of accidents during driving are increased manifold. Productivity of the inflicted person is decreased, and it directly affects his occupational health and reputation.
Different types of Insomnia
Insomnia can be only lack of sleep or can be a cluster of disorders. It is generally divided into following three different types:
i. Chronic Insomnia
This is the most persistent type of insomnia. An inflicted person may be facing the symptoms for months or even years. This type of insomnia is mostly associated with another underlying problem and can be treated by curing the root cause of insomnia.
ii. Transient Insomnia
In this type of insomnia, symptoms last only for 3 nights and it is mostly associated with jet lags and general life stressors.
iii. Acute Insomnia
In this type, symptoms persist for weeks and it is also known as short-term insomnia.
Insomnia and Chronic Diseases
Insomnia does not only make you less productive the next day but can also cause many other diseases. It has been found out that suffering from insomnia increases the risks of developing chronic diseases. Chronic insomnia is associated with the increased risks of stroke, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
Can insomnia cause cancer?
The answer to the above mentioned question is “yes”. According to National Sleep Foundation, disruption in your circadian rhythm makes you vulnerable to developing cancer.
There are three different theories which explain how insomnia can increase the risk of developing cancer.
- Circadian Rhythm
It has already been mentioned that disruption in circadian rhythm can cause cancer. Sleep is the best way to set the biological clock of the human body. When a person is not taking enough sleep, his circadian rhythm is eventually disturbed.
According to a study published in International Journal of Cancer found out those women who were working night shifts were on 30% higher risks of developing breasts cancer. It was also related with increased risk of developing prostate cancer in men.
- Melatonin Theory
Our body creates a lot of melatonin during sleep, and that is essential for several functions in our body. However, disrupted sleep pattern can cause reduction in melatonin which increases the cancer cells.
It was found out in animals that when the melatonin production was ceased due to lack of sleep, cancer grew faster.
- Weakened Immune Function
Lack of sleep is also associated with the weakened immune system. When a person has less immunity to diseases, he is more prone to diseases.
Types of Cancer associated with Insomnia
Researchers have found out that lack of sleep is associated with almost every cancer. However, here are few a types of cancer which are considered to be affected at most by insomnia:
- Prostate Cancer
Men are affected by prostate cancer more than any other cancer worldwide. It was found out in a 2013 study that men who suffered from insomnia were at higher risk of developing prostate cancer than others.
- Breast Cancer
Women with inadequate sleep patterns are most likely to develop breast cancer, or even it might get aggravated due to lack of sleep. Chronic insomnia was found to be most commonly associated with breast cancer in women.
- Colorectal cancer
After lung cancer, colorectal cancer is the most common cancer which affects both men and women equally. It was found out in a 2010 study that inadequate sleep patterns affect the development of colorectal cancer.
Sleep is one function of the human body which governs almost every other function in our body. Adequate sleep patterns are essential for everyone. Insomnia is a very serious problem, and now you know that insomnia can cause cancer. Do not take this lighter in any way and find the root cause of insomnia. Treat insomnia in time and save your life.