Life Rhythms and Cancer
There is a link between rhythm and cancer and higher cancer rates has been documented in occupations that involved disrupted sleep. Female airline attendants have double the incidence of breast cancer compared to others in the population.
Our bodies have a number of rhythms and cycles that are multilayer, annual, seasonal, monthly, daily and hourly, as well as short repeated cycles like heart beat. When these rhythms are disturbed, illness may occur.
Cancer tissues have disrupted biological patterns and when cancer cells grows, normal twenty-four hour circadian patterns throughout the body goes out of synchrony, such as my disrupted temperature rhythms. Biorhythms disturbed include:
- Sleep patterns
- The rise and fall of body temperature
- Heart rate and hear rate variability and its interconnection with the breathing patterns and
- Patterns of cells and tissues growth
The use of sleeping medication do not provide deep and regenerating sleep. Sleep medication tend to disturb the body's ability to repair and rebuild. Patients who habitually take sleeping medication have a 25-36% increased death rate. So sleeping medication should be used for crisis management for a few days but not for prolonged use.
What Can I Do?
- Resetting the internal clock. Reset the circadian rhythm by reducing the exposure to light at bedtime. The production of melatonin, triggered when it gets dark, can be disrupted by light exposure. So turn off all lights at bedtime, unplugging of electrical appliances that emits light and reduce computer work and TV after a certain nightly hour. Sleeping in absolute darkness, many people find that their sleep becomes deeper and less interrupted.
- Balancing body chemistry. Cancer and cancer medications can interfere with the metabolism of essential nutrients. Taking of a light protein snack before sleep can be helpful as taking calcium supplements.
- Cultivating peace of mind. In many cases, insomnia is triggered fear and worry. All these are counter productive and tapping into resources such as cognitive restructuring or mindfulness practice is helpful. It is important the mind not be over stimulated at bedtime. Watching new and a thriller movie before bedtime are not recommended. Choreograph the time before going to bed with peaceful music, videos, or uplifting reading. Allow an hour to relax. Develop self awareness and emotional balance.