Better sleep predicts longer survival time for women with advanced breast cancer

May 2, 2014

A new study reports that sleep efficiency, a ratio of time asleep to time spent in bed, is predictive of survival time for women with advanced breast cancer.

Results show that higher sleep efficiency was significantly associated with lower mortality over the ensuing six years, an effect that remained after adjusting for baseline prognostic factors such as age, estrogen receptor status and treatments received. Mean survival was 68.9 months for efficient sleepers compared with 33.2 months for participants with poor sleep efficiency. Further analysis found that a 10 percent increase in reduced the estimated hazard of subsequent mortality by 32 percent. There was no association between and survival.

"We were surprised by the magnitude of the relationship between and overall survival even after we accounted for medical and psychological variables that typically predict survival," said lead author Oxana Palesh, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and research director of the Stanford Cancer Survivorship. "Good sleep seems to have a strongly protective effect, even with advanced ."

Study results are published in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

The study involved 97 women with advanced breast who had a mean age of 55 years. Objective sleep parameters were measured by wrist actigraphy for three consecutive days. Overall, participants spent about eight hours in bed at night but slept for only about 6.5 hours.

"This study emphasizes the importance of assessing sleep quality among women with breast cancer," said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. M. Safwan Badr. "Healthy sleep is critical for physical health, quality of life and overall well-being."

According to the authors, this is the first study to demonstrate the long-term detrimental effects of objectively quantified sleep on survival in women with advanced cancer. Although the mechanism of the relationship between sleep quality and survival is unclear, they suggested that may lead to diminished immune function or impaired hormonal stress responses that are more directly responsible for the decrease in survival.

The authors also noted that further research is needed to replicate this finding using a prospective, controlled, experimental design to determine whether improving sleep can improve survival.

"There are effective treatments for sleep disruption in the general population, and some of them have shown to be effective in cancer survivors as well," said Palesh. "But much more research is needed to develop and test interventions that are adapted for cancer patients and survivors. These interventions might not only improve quality of life, but can potentially improve survival."

Explore further: Improved sleep may improve exercise duration

More information: "Actigraphy-Measured Sleep Disruption as a Predictor of Survival among Women with Advanced Breast Cancer," Sleep, 2014. www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29448

Related Stories

Improved sleep may improve exercise duration

August 23, 2013

(HealthDay)—The length of an individual's sleep appears to influence their participation level in exercise the next day, according to a small study published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Recommended for you

Bright lighting encourages healthy food choices

May 26, 2016

Dining in dimly lit restaurants has been linked to eating slowly and ultimately eating less than in brighter restaurants, but does lighting also impact how healthfully we order?

Big Data can save lives, says leading cancer expert

May 16, 2016

The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen's University Belfast.

New soap to ward off malaria carrying mosquitoes

May 13, 2016

(Medical Xpress)—Gérard Niyondiko along with colleagues Frank Langevin and Lisa Barutel has posted a project on the crowd source funding site ulule for a product called Faso Soap. They claim the soap can cut in half the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.