Longer sleep linked to colorectal cancer
More often than not, research has found that people need to get more sleep, that sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. But in a new study from Harvard Medical School, researchers found that longer sleep duration is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, especially among people who are overweight and those who snore.
This study utilized data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study, both of which collect information on demographics, lifestyles and disease. Across the study, 76,368 women and 30, 121 men were surveyed as a baseline population – the average age was 53 years for women and 56 for men. From this population, the researchers found 1,973 cases of colorectal cancer. Overweight people and snorers who reported nine hours of sleep or more per night had a 1.4 to two-fold increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, as compared to overweight and snorers who got seven hours of sleep per night.
The researchers speculate that sleep disruption caused by sleep apnea may reduce sleep quality and increase sleepiness, resulting in more time spent sleeping. The results indicate that obstructive sleep apnea – common in overweight people and often associated with snoring – may contribute to cancer risk.