circadian rhythm, the body's natural clock that keeps us on
regular 24-hour day/night cycles, is the primary component
that determines our sleeping patterns, including the quality
and quantity of our sleep. When the circadian rhythm is disrupted
due to changing time zones or work schedules, it can result
in sleep deprivation, which, if not corrected, can lead to
depression and other serious health problems - even cancer,
according to a recent study.
Researchers examined the relationship between sleep and cancer,
and found that a lack of sleep can cause a hormonal imbalance
in the body - not a good thing, since, according to the study,
reduced levels of some hormones, such as melatonin and oestrogen,
can stimulate tumor growth. Additionally, a disrupted circadian
cycle can result in a reduction of cortisol, a stress hormone
that aids the immune system in fighting off cancer-causing
According to the researchers, this study helps pave the way
for understanding psychosocial factors, including diet and
exercise, and their effects on cancer.
Whether cancer is an immediate concern or not, this study
clearly shows that the benefits sleep are wide-reaching, and
that the body as a whole needs sleep to stay healthy. To learn
more about the many paths to wellness, visit www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/general/wellness/index.html.
Sephton S, Speigel D. Circadian disruption in cancer: a neuroendocrine-immune
pathway from stress to disease? Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
(Oct. 2003):17(5), pp 321-328.