Sleep enough... it can help against breast cancer!  | The Strving Muslimah Blog


What is Breast cancer?

Basically a malignant tumor which begins in breast cells (usually in the inner lining of milk ducts that supply milk,) and can spread to other parts of the body.

It is found in women, however, men can be victims too.


Preventing Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer is largely preventable and can be done with the most basic routines Insha’Allah;

  • a healthy diet ,
  • exercise and an active life-style (just 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week can cut your breast cancer risk by nearly 20%)
  • losing excess weight (since carrying extra weight is linked to breast cancer risk)
  • breast-feeding (women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.),
  • and (now) also sufficient sleep are known to reduce the risk and  boost immunity against cancer.

In a prospective study, published by the British Journal of Cancer, it was found that women who get six or less hours sleep a night are much more likely to develop breast cancer when compared with women who slept seven hours per night.

The study involved 23,995 Japanese women aged between 40 and 79 who were followed for an eight year period. Over the course of the study, 143 women developed breast cancer. The researchers found that women who slept for 6 or less hours a night had a striking 62% increase in breast cancer risk! 


The Theory

Researchers suggested that without adequate sleep, the light-sensitive pineal gland doesn’t secrete enough hormone-regulating melatonin.

That’s a problem, because our bodies use melatonin to suppress the hormone estrogen — which may stimulate (cancerous) breast cell division.

Shorter sleep results in a shorter duration of nocturnal melatonin secretion and lower melatonin levels have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Night shift workers and women who sleep for less than six hours during the night tend to produce less melatonin and are at an increased risk of developing ER-positive breast cancer.



“Women often focus on claims that wearing underwire bras or using antiperspirants causes breast cancer, even though there’s zero evidence that they do,” says Victoria Seewaldt, MD, director of the breast cancer prevention program and professor of medicine at Duke University.