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Good sleep may prevent prostate cancer

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A new study shows that sound and regular sleeping habits reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The researcher were able to link levels of the hormone melatonin, which we produce when it's dark and when we're asleep, with the health of the prostate, showing that whenever those levels where lower chances of developing the fatal disease were higher.

The hormone melatonin is a critical factor in regulating the body's sleep-wake cycle and is generally part of the processes that ensure an healthy circadian cycle, or the body's 24-hour clock.

When this balance is unhealthy and both the body's sleep-wake cycle and the circadian cycle are disturbed for one reason or another, melatonin levels are lower.

The research studied 928 Icelandic men gathering data on their sleeping patterns, whether they had difficulty at falling or staying asleep, and testing urine samples to establish the production of melatonin in their bodies.

The result show that that those men who had problems sleeping also had much lower amounts of melatonin being produced by their bodies, and 111 among them were diagnosed with prostate cancer over a period of seven years.

On the other hand, those men who had levels of melatonin marker higher than average resulted to be 75 per cent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer.

Being able to establish which types of men are more at risk of prostate cancer could help in prevention, as Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK explained.

“However,” Dr Hobbs added, “this study is a long way away from developing a test based on melatonin levels. In fact, more research is needed just to confirm that melatonin levels really do have an effect on the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer."

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