I have to warn you, this is likely going to sound a little alarming. Right now, inside your body, you’ve got a cancer gene.
But that isn’t the scary part. It’s that this gene could also be steadily counting down the minutes until it has a chance to strike midnight.
But there IS a way to slow its clock and stop that deadly strike. And I’ll share that secret with you in just a few moments.
But first, let’s take a quick look at some alarming new research that reveals how FAR too many folks are doing just the opposite. They’re fast-forwarding the cancer clock without even realizing it.
It boils down to a single habit that many people don’t even realize is a bad one. And while it has to do with sleep, it’s probably NOT in the way you think.
The ‘midnight oil” danger for night owls
There’s a basic assumption we all tend to make about sleep. If we get our 6 to 8 hours and don’t feel crummy the next day, we’re getting the right amount of rest.
And that IS often a good sign that you’re on the right track. But it ISN’T the only thing you need to consider.
We know, for example, that the KIND of sleep matters, too. That includes REM sleep and “deep” sleep and how much time you spend in each phase.
Now, new research has revealed yet another factor to figure in. And that’s WHEN you sleep.
If you’re already following Ben Franklin’s old wisdom and sleeping during “normal” hours, then you’re on the right track. But if you’re up late – with work, watching TV, or from just plain habit – you could put yourself at risk for cancer.
You see, every cell inside your body has its own “clock,” just like the one I mentioned in the cancer-linked genes earlier. But they’re not set to the time on your wristwatch.
Instead, these clocks are tuned to your circadian rhythm. That’s the natural flow of night and day that your body relies on for so many cues.
What the WRONG sleep does to your CANCER risk
The new study focuses on those cancer-related genes. They can repair DNA and stop the disease when they’re working right. Or they can allow a tumor to form and grow if they fall asleep on the job.
In experiments conducted in a sleep lab, scientists found those genes lost their natural rhythm when volunteers were kept up through the night. Plus, study participant’s white cells, a critical part of the immune system, had measurably more damage when people had their days and nights flipped.
In another experiment, researchers exposed white blood cells gathered from patients who were awake at different times to radiation. The ones taken from volunteers who were up at night had more of the DNA damage that could lead to cancer.
The study points out this means night-shift workers are likely at a higher risk for cancer. And that’s undoubtedly true. But remember, your body doesn’t know (or care) WHY you’re up, only that you’re awake at the “wrong” time.
And let’s be honest, night-shift workers aren’t the only ones up late at night. Some of us are born night owls. Others of us fall into bad nighttime habits as we get older.
After all, if you don’t have to get up early in the morning anymore, it’s easy to park in front of the TV and watch old movies until you doze off in the easy chair.
If that sounds a bit too familiar, it may be time to reset your own habits and restart the clock. Getting to bed a little earlier can help arm those cells and protect against cancer.
And if you’re up late because you struggle to sleep at night, consider melatonin supplements. This “sleep hormone” can help prepare you for sleep, so it’s easier to drift off. And it’s no coincidence that scientists say melatonin could offer some protection against cancer, too.
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