Healthy Sleep Habits Associated with Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer


Conversely, insomnia was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Healthy Sleep Habits Associated with Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

Shucheng Si, PhD

A new investigation into the benefits of sleep health found that healthy, modifiable sleep habits such as napping were associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer globally and the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. As such, great attention has been paid into the benefits of modifiable risk behaviors such as lifestyle.

Though poor sleep has been associated with several non-communicable diseases, its role in pancreatic cancer is unknown. However, several studies had found that pancreatic cancer risk was higher in people with an evening chronotype, and longer sleep duration was negatively associated with pancreatic cancer in a separate study.

In the present study, investigators led by Shucheng Si, PhD, Shandong University, Jinan, systematically studied the relationship between several sleep charaxcteristics and prostate cancer risk based on data from the UK Biobank.

The UK Biobank is a prospective study that was intended to be a resource for investigations into the cause of disease including lifestyle, environment, and genomic detriments in middle and old age.

From 2006-2010, a total of 22 assessment centers across England, Wales, and Scotland were selected for the study, which resulted in a total of 503,317 male and female patients aged 40-69 years.

Investigators collected data on chronotype, sleep duration, difficulty getting up in the morning, insomnia symptoms, nap, snoring, and daytime sleepiness via a touch screen questionnaire.

Chronotype was assessed through a question asking patients if they consider themselves to be 1 of 6 options, including:

  • Definitely a “morning” person
  • More of a “morning” than an “evening” person
  • More of an “evening” than a “morning” person
  • Definitely an “evening” person
  • Do not know
  • Prefer not to answer

Sleep duration was assessed by asking patients roughly how many hours of sleep they got every 24 hours. Data was collected in a similar fashion across all areas of interest including insomnia symptoms and difficulty getting up in the morning.

Among the 502,527 participants in the UK Biobank, 229,131 (45.6%) were men and 10,711 (2.1%) had prostate cancer. After certain exclusions, a total of 213,999 individuals were included in the analysis.

The median follow-up period for these individuals was 10.45 years. A total of 6747 participants were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 334 had died.

Following a stratified analysis of PSA test, investigators observed that usually experiencing insomnia was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer regardless of whether a PSA test was performed (hazard ratio [HR], 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04–1.19; E value, 1.46).

Notably, finding it easy to get up in the morning was positively associated with prostate cancer (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.04–1.15; E value, 1.40), and sually having a nap was associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer (HR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.83–0.99; E value, 1.42).

“These findings suggest that improving sleep habits may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, although further research focus on objective measures is needed to verify the associations and clarify its potential mechanism,” the team wrote.

The study, "Relationships of sleep traits with prostate cancer risk: A prospective study of 213,999 UK Biobank participants," was published online in The Prostate.

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