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Sleeping with Too Much
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July 25, 2018

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness
professionals and other members of our Editorial Board.]




Every small town boy or girl dreams of moving to the Big
City. Those bright lights promise new adventures.  But they
may also be a critical part of the reason that people who live
in bigger cities have higher rates of cancer. For there is a
surprising connection between exposure to lights at night
and cancer.

In 2005, Dr. D.E. Blask of the Laboratory of Chrono-
Neuroendocrine Oncology, Bassett Research Institute, led a
review on the connection between sleep and the initiation of
cancer cells.

Called "Putting cancer to sleep at night: the
neuroendocrine/circadian melatonin signal ", the review first
observed that many previous studies had proven that high
levels of melatonin in the bloodstream inhibit the initiation of
tumors, a process known as tumorgenenis.

These studies had shown that melatonin acts as a anticancer
substance in three ways:

inhibition of cell proliferation
stimulation of differentiation and
stimulation of early cell death(apoptosis)

How does melatonin accomplish these feats?

Dr. Blask found that melatonin suppresses a compound
called tumor linoleic acid (LA).   In the body, tumor linoleic
metabolizes into a mitogenic signaling molecule called 13-
hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (13-HODE), setting the stage
for cancer formation, especially in the breast.


Does Interference with Melatonin Levels At Night in Bright
Cities Cause Cancer?



Melatonin is released when we are exposed to darkness,
coinciding with the normal dytime/nghtime circadian
rhythms that have governed our sleep patterns since we first
walked the Earth.

Melatonin levels rise at night, reaching their peak as we
sleep, then gradually fall as we approach dawn, allowing us
to wake up as the sun rises. In a very real sense, melatonin
is our body's natural sleeping pill.

When you expose your eyes to light, melatonin levels
automatically decline. This is why your sleep can be
interrupted by hallway lights or other light sources.


In fact, Dr. Blast believes that the ambient light that comes
through the windows at night in big cities may be interfering
with natural melatonin levels, and thereby causing a rise in
breast cancer rates.




Putting Dr. Flask's Theory to the Test--A Look at Breast
Cancer Rates in Bg Cities













































A 2014 study from the University of Limerick, Ireland
compared the risk of 18 different types of cancer between
city dwellers and those who live in rural areas.

The raw data was taken from the National Registry of
Cancers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for
a 12 year period from 1995 to 2007. "Urban" areas were
defined as areas with more than 15 people per hectare, and
"rural" areas as those with less than 15 people per hectare.

What they found was startling. The cancer rates were
significantly higher in cities, even after discounting for other
factors such as socioeconomic status.

Here is the breakdown:



Head and Neck Cancers. These were higher in the city for
both men and women. Urban men had a 53% higher
incidence and urban woman had a 29% higher incidence of
cancer than rural dwellers.



Breast, Kidney, Cervical and Brain Cancers. "significantly"
higher in urban areas.

Esophageal Cancers. Men and women each had a 21%
higher incidence in urban areas.

Stomach Cancer. men had a 36% higher rate and women a
19% higher rate in urban areas.

Colorectal Cancer. Men had 14% more colorectal cancers in
urban areas and women had 4% more in urban areas than
rural areas.

Lung Cancer. Men had a 54% higher cancer rates and for
women, the rate was 74% higher in urban areas.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer. This type of cancer was 13%
higher in urban males and 23% higher in urban females.

Bladder Cancer. Men in urban areas had a 30% higher
cancer rate and women in such areas had a 31% higher rate
than women in rural areas.


Other Studies Bear Out the Strong Connection Between City
Lights and Cancer


In 2017, scientists from universities and medical centers in
Israel conducted an important study on the connection
between breast cancer rates and urban living.

The universities were the University of Haifa, the Poria
Medical Center, and Soroka University Medical Center.


The study, entitled "Light and the City: Breast Cancer Risk
Factors Differ Between Urban and Rural Women in Israel",  
examined the health records of 252 women who had lived in
either urban or rural areas for a 5 year period that ended 10
to 15 years before the study.

The scientists discovered that women who had lived in an
urban area had a 51% higher rate of breast cancer.


However, women who slept longer had a 53% lower rate,
and women who cosed their shutters at night had a 55%
lower rate of breast cancer.



What You Need to Do

Needless to say, these studies confirm that sleeping with
ambient light is a risk to your health. It will raise your risk
for cancer significantly.

You should try to block out all ambient light when you sleep.
Make sure you shut out light from

  • street lights,

  • the hallways,

  • night lights,

  • any computers

  • any cellphones

  • any digital display clocks.


If you still find that light is reaching you, you should
consider investing in night eye masks.

Some doctors have gone so far as to recommend that we
take extra melatonin after age 50, when melatonin levels
drop naturally.  Talk with your doctor if you are having
trouble sleeping to see if melatonin is right for you.

Otherwise, consider doing these things to naturally raise yor
levels of melatonin at night:

Get some exposure to daylight. Studies show that exposing
yourself to daylight during the day actually helps to raise
your melatonin levels at night.

Go to bed at the same time each night.

Avoid watching movies in bed after your usual bedtime

























































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Ideal Diet for Chemotherapy

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Fish Oil Health Benefits--Let Me Count the Ways

Sugar-The Disease Connection
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City lights can interrupt sleep and raise your risk for cancer.
Peppers grown in the greenhouse of one of our editors. Peppers
cause certain types of cancer cells to "suicide" themselves
".