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Sleep, Live Longer?
Photo: Hemera
Think chronic lack of sleep gives you just a bad case of afternoon yawns?

The quality and quantity of your snooze time can affect the balance of certain cancer-fighting hormones in your body.

Melatonin, an antioxidant that mops up damaging free radicals, is produced by the brain during sleep. If you’re not producing enough, your cells’ DNA may be more prone to cancer-causing mutations.

Cortisol, a hormone that regulates immune system activity, normally reaches peak levels at dawn, then declines throughout the day. Mess up your circadian rhythm, and you knock your cortisol production off kilter. This, in turn, can hinder your immune system’s ability to fight off infection and . . . cancer.

Good night.                                   

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, March/April 2005. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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