It has long been known that vitality and performance directly depend on our sleep’s recreational value. Cancer researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that restful sleep drastically reduces cancer risk. And that has to do with a particular endogenous messenger substance…
It is popularly referred to as the “sleep hormone”: melatonin. It is secreted by the pineal gland (epiphysis) at nightfall to make us sleepy. In daylight, on the other hand, its production is inhibited. In this way, melatonin acts as a clock for our sleep-wake cycle.
What Does It Do?
While a good night’s sleep increases the melatonin concentration by a factor of 3 (in older people) to 12 (in younger people), artificial light, jet lag, shift work or a poor diet suppress the release of melatonin which could result in you becoming ill and worsen your current sleep problems.
Study confirms: “Sleep Problems and cancer risk are closely linked”
A fifth of the 928 Icelandic men who were followed and studied in the Harvard study for eight years had exactly this problem: a significantly lower level of melatonin led to significant sleep problems and difficulties sleeping through the night. The dangerous thing is that sleep disorders and lack of sleep, in turn, impair melatonin production and start a sleep-depriving cycle.
What Does It Do?
But the researchers from Harvard discovered something else that was important: subjects with above-average levels of melatonin in their bodies had a 75% (!) reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. The fact that prostate carcinomas are more likely to occur in old age, even if the natural release of melatonin decreases, is another indication of this connection. Further studies are planned to substantiate these results.