In earlier blogs, I have talked about insomnia and the problems caused by lack of sleep. If lack of sleep is a problem for you, be sure and read my earlier posts about insomnia. In 2011 a new study on lack of sleep was completed by Li Li, Md, PhD, associate professor of family medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Cleveland. The study was based on a survey of 1,240 patients who were getting ready to have a colonoscopy. They were asked about their sleeping habits including the number of hours they slept nightly.
It was found that the patients who slept, on average, less than six hours per night were 50% more likely to have precancerous lesions in the colon and/or rectum than those who got at least seven hours of sleep per night. Dr. Li theorized that lack of sleep lowers the production of melatonin. This is a problem because melatonin is believed to help repair DNA damage which is important in preventing cancer.
If you have insomnia and particularly if you have a history or family history of making adenomatous polyps (those pre-cancerous lesions), then you are at greater risk for developing colon cancer. Getting help for insomnia may include counseling with a sleep hygienist and over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. Hypnotherapy can also be a valuable tool in working with the issue of insomnia. As you are sleeping better, your body will produce more melatonin and reduce the risk of colon cancer.