According to a small study, sleep efficiency may predict the survival time of women with advanced breast cancer. Sleep efficiency is defined as the ratio between how much time a person spends in bed and how much time they spend sleeping.
Conducted by researchers from Stanford University, The Huffington Post reports that the study included 97 women who had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, who then wore wrist monitors as they slept. Results showed that women with a higher sleep efficiency score also had a lower mortality score, surviving an average of 68.9 months, compared to poor sleepers who survived an average of 33.2 months.
Women who also woke up less frequently and spent less time awake if they woke up during the night, also were associated with having a longer survival time.
As the first study to analyze the long-term effects of sleep efficiency on the survival time in women with advanced stage breast cancer, the results further strengthen the relationship between sleep and an health specifically, the immune system. Sleep disruptions and poor quality may lead a weaker immune system and hormonal stress response that the body depends on, directly affecting survival times.
While further research is needed, the authors of the study believe that the study stresses the importance of taking the sleep quality of women with breast cancer into account. Improving their sleep efficiency score, may extend their survival with the potential to improve it overall. You can find more details about the published study in the journal SLEEP.
If you are consistently struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, waking up too early, or simply don’t feel refreshed upon waking up, don’t hesitate to speak with a licensed physician. Sleep is as important as diet and exercise; make sure that you are giving yourself the opportunity to have the best quality of life you can.