A good night’s sleep does much more than leave you looking and feeling refreshed. In fact, recent findings show that the amount and quality of sleep we get may factor in our risks of certain cancers, including breast cancer.

Sleep, Hormones and Breast Cancer

During the sleep cycle, your body releases a hormone called melatonin, which has positive effects on your skin and your immune system. Melatonin is an important hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain while we sleep. It regulates our body’s internal clock. It affects regulation of sleep, mood, puberty, and ovarian cycles. Many scientists believe that melatonin helps suppress estrogen levels, a causative factor in many cases of breast cancer.

In addition to the length of time we sleep, the conditions in which we sleep are also important. Studies have clearly demonstrated the link between darkness and light, sleep and sleep disruption and breast cancer. Sleeping in total darkness is important for many health reasons, including breast cancer reduction.

Research conducted at the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, revealed an alarming finding: Exposure to light during the hours of sleep appears to aggressively promote breast cancer by shutting off the production of melatonin, a strong immune system booster, which according to research findings, also impedes the growth of cancer tumors by as much as 80 percent.

Secrets to Better Sleep

Eat Tryptophan Rich Foods

The amino acid tryptophan acts as a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter important in helping the body regulate sleep. Best sources include salmon, halibut, turkey and beans.

Exercise

People who exercise enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer.

Dr. Perricone’s Evening Skin Care Recommendations

During the sleep process the body naturally loses moisture, so maintaining optimal levels of hydration with topical treatments is key. Adding a night treatment to your routine is one of the quickest ways to achieve visible radiance. Look for hydrating formulas with ingredients such as retinol and alpha lipoic acid, for a smoother, softer looking complexion in the morning.

Remember, quality sleep is not only necessary to rebuild energy reserves and regenerate the body as our cells undergo repair. It’s critical to any healthy-aging regimen.

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