Sleep is good for Emotional Health

Sleep is good for Emotional Health

One of the important new understanding of the brain is the recognition of the importance of sleep for health in general and mental health in general.
In studies of cancer, there is good evidence to show people working in situations where sleep patterns and duration gets compromised, like night workers, airline staff, have a relatively higher rates of cancer.

The recent American Association for Cancer research(AACR) in nov 2018, had this information about this topic.

Linking Night Shift Work to Cancer Risk

A recent study found that women who work the night shift may have an increased risk of breast, skin, and gastrointestinal cancers.
Rapid globalization of the economy has spurred an increase in the number of shift workers. Data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimate that almost 15 million Americans work irregular schedules.

Does working the night shift have an effect on our cancer risk?

A study recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), found that long-term night shift work among women increased the risk of cancer by 19 percent.
Most previous research has focused on the increased risk of breast cancer among female night shift workers, but the results have been mixed. This study analyzed data from nearly 4 million women and looked at the association between long-term night shift work and risk of nearly a dozen types of cancer.

“By systematically integrating a multitude of previous data, we found that night shift work was positively associated with several common cancers in women,” said Xuelei Ma, PhD, oncologist at State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Cancer Center, West China Medical Center of Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. “The results of this research suggest the need for health protection programs for long-term female night shift workers.”

Looking at individual cancers, the study found that women who work the night shift had a 41 percent increased risk of skin cancer, a 32 percent increased risk of breast cancer, and an 18 percent increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer.
In addition, the researchers found that for every five years of night shift work, the risk for breast cancer increased by 3.3 percent.
The researchers looked specifically at the effect of night shift work on female nurses. Compared to their colleagues who did not perform night shift work, female nurses who worked the night shift had a 58 percent increased risk of breast cancer, 35 percent increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer, and a 28 percent increased risk of lung cancer.

While people choose to work nights for several reasons, including better pay and an opportunity to go back to school, female night shift workers should be aware of the increased cancer risk associated with their job, and have regular checkups.
“Long-term night shift workers should have regular physical examinations and cancer screenings,” urged Ma.

It is for this reason Sleep is important for cancer survivors as one of 10 ‘HEALTHY’ habits and adequate sleep everyday should be goal for all cancer survivors.

The importance and the current understanding is presented in a recent article from SCIENCE OF US magazine.

Sleep Fixes Everything
By Katie Heaney November 28, 2018. Science of Us

Last night, I missed my bedtime by a full two hours, and today, I’m an anxious, irritable wreck. (It’s not even noon.) Coincidence? No — not according to new research recently presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, which suggests that a lack of sleep triggers the same brain mechanisms that make us sensitive to anxiety.

While the association between sleep loss and anxiety isn’t exactly groundbreaking (we know, for instance, that people with insomnia have double the risk of developing an anxiety disorder), the new study — led by Eti Ben-Simon, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley — establishes how this correlational relationship functions in the brain.
In their study, researchers had healthy subjects spend two nights in their sleep lab: the first, intentionally sleep deprived, and the following, restful. In the morning, researchers showed the subjects “distressing” video clips to evoke an emotional reaction, and then took fMRI scans of their brains. On the morning after disturbed sleep, subjects’ brains showed significantly more activity in “emotion-generating” areas of the brain, like the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, both of which process negative emotions like fear, and both of which are highly active in people with anxiety disorders. Researchers found that subjects experienced 30 percent higher anxiety on the day following poor sleep than on the day following restful sleep, with half of those subjects reaching levels which met the threshold for a clinical anxiety disorder.

“[Brain] regions that help us regulate emotions are the ones that help keep us less anxious and keep us calm, and those regions are very sensitive to sleep loss,” Ben-Simon told Popular Science.

Which brings us to another emotion that is very susceptible to sleep loss: anger. Another study, recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that sleep-deprived individuals (those subjects asked to restrict their sleep by two to four hours a night for two nights — like I did, selflessly, last night) rated themselves substantially angrier than their well-rested counterparts (who averaged 7 hours of sleep a night).

While the anxiety experiment showed subjects returning to normal stress levels after resuming quality sleep, both studies revealed the potential for a compounding problem — sleep-deprived individuals only got angrier with each sleepless night, just as people with insomnia tend to get more anxious over time. These issues may also be cyclical; certainly, anxious people experience more difficulty sleeping, and one could speculate that the same might apply to angry people, though, personally, I find anger exhausting. (Stress, too, in certain cases.) Based on their results, the authors of the anger study are collecting data to see if sleep loss causes actual aggression toward others, which seems like a probable “yes.”

Some (but not all) anti-anxiety medications may reduce sleep disturbances, but it’s unclear which (if any) have a net-positive impact on sleep quality, which is why many neurologists consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) a better, lower-risk treatment option for sleep deprivation.

The hope, then, is that treating one’s sleep deprivation would improve one’s anxiety, or one’s anger, or both. Everything is related, and it’s hard to get every variable in the right place and then keep it there.

But the main thing is that everyone should go to bed at 8:45.

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