Colon cancer is usually thought to be due to hereditary causes, along with your diet and lifestyle factors, but a new study revealed that sleeping less than 6 hours per night increases your chances of getting colon cancer by 50%, compared with sleeping 7 hours per night. The study authors speculate that perhaps melatonin may be involved, but no plausible explanation was given.
Here’s my take on it: Lack of sleep of poor quality sleep causes a physiologic state of stress. Your adrenaline levels are constantly increased. Since digestion is your last priority (especially when you’re running from a tiger), blood flow and nervous system activity are shut down when you’re under stress. Now imagine if you place food in your bowel, and your gut is not able to digest properly, or clear toxins appropriately. Hypoxia (low oxygen) causes local tissue damage (causing inflammation) and what’s called neo-vascularization, where new blood vessels are created to try to bring in more nutrients. Chronic over-stimulation of tissues in a state of low oxygen levels can create a perfect storm for cancer development. This process can also be applied to reproductive organs such as breast or prostate.
If you have or had colon cancer, how many hours of sleep do you normally get?