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Failing to let the body restore its natural balance with sleep increases a persons risk for developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Reduction of sleeping hours or shift work places stress on the body that corresponds to a change in hormonal demands, namely stress hormones, melatonin, and natural appetite suppression hormones, which is believed to be adding to the influence of obesity, colon and breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Stress hormones increases body alertness though upregulating body activities such as blood pressure and inflammation. Melatonin is produced at night and is protective against cancer, but is reduced in people who work nights. Current recommendations are for people to receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night to encourage healthy body functioning. Conditions that might interrupt this need include obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy and insomnia, which require investigation and treatment as they will lead to a shortened lifespan.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Washingtonpost.com
About: Lack of sleep influences illnesses
Date: 9 October 2005
Author: Rob Stein
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