You’ve probably heard how important a good night’s sleep is for your general health. According to a recent study, however, it might be even more important for the plumbing down south than previously thought.
According to Susan M. Gapstur, PhD, MPH of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, men who sleep fewer than seven hours per night may have an increased risk of prostate cancer, particularly if they’re under 65 years old.
There has been some research on this subject before, but it focused only on employed men. This time, Gapstur says, the pool of subjects was wider.
The study analyzed two previous studies from the American Cancer Society, the Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-I and CPS-II. Gatspur and her team analyzed 407,649 men from CPS-I and 416,040 men from CPS-II. Both original studies asked men to report sleep behaviors and durations, and all of the men were cancer-free at the start of the study. But by the eight-year check in, nearly 1,550 of the CPS-I and 8,705 of the CPS-II subjects had died of prostate cancer.
So should you jump into bed right away (and not for the fun part)? Not exactly. The connection between lack of sleep and developing prostate cancer is still tenuous. However, further research will give us more data to work with. For now, the study is just one part of a growing body of work that supports the idea that sleep is vitally important to keeping your hammer healthy.
What is it about a lack of sleep that could lead to prostate cancer? Researchers like Gapstur think it’s linked to reduced melatonin production, which can disrupt sleep cycles. Inhibition of melatonin has been shown to lead to carcinogenesis, or the beginnings of cancer cell formation.
Getting those seven hours, then, can be vital to your penis health. Mr. Happy needs his beauty sleep! In addition to raising your cancer risk, a lack of sleep—or a tendency toward interrupted sleep—can affect the health of your nerves, blood vessels, and testosterone production, all of which are pretty darn vital for optimal penis health and male fertility. Sleep causes your testosterone to surge and promotes healthy nerves and circulation to your penis. Lack of sleep leads to problems with sex drive, erections, and even orgasm.
But studies have shown that getting enough sleep can be tough based on your schedule—for example, if you’re a shift worker. At least 15% of the American workforce gets less than five hours of sleep a night, which can have a huge impact on everything from your libido to an impact on your testosterone level that’s the equivalent of aging ten to 15 years – not ideal if you’re looking to start a family! And that’s leaving aside the increased risk of prostate cancer.
Fertility is a problem if you have prostate cancer because the treatments available eliminate your semen. Severe erection problems can make it difficult to ejaculate and cause a pregnancy as well. In addition, a well-rested body likely enhances the health of your sperm.
If you’re not getting the Zzz’s you should, try the following tips from sleep.org:
- Avoid bright lights before bed.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
- Get back on schedule by go to sleep a few minutes earlier every night until you’re back to your regular bedtime.
- Consider taking melatonin to help you doze off at the right time.
- Avoid eating, drinking, and exercising right before you hit the hay.
Whether or not the link between sleep deprivation and prostate cancer is a strong one, prevention is the best medicine. So go catch those Zzz’s!
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