Good grades or cancer? How sleep habits can change your life

Health News

(KXAN) –  Not sleeping enough could put you at a greater risk for cancer, that’s according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found, over the course of four separate studies, that people with high blood or diabetes who sleep less than six hours are at a higher risk for deadly cardiovascular disease and are three times more likely to die from cancer.

Roughly 45% of Americans have either high blood pressure, diabetes or both. The lack of sleep is not the cause for cancer, but sleep helps the body’s immune system. Heart disease can lead to problems with the immune system. The combination of heart disease and poor sleep then elevates the risk for cancer.

Researchers discovered that by simply increasing the sleep of patients, the risk went away.

Better grades through bedtime 

If not dying isn’t enough of an incentive to get better sleep, how about better grades? A new report out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that students who went to bed before 2:00 a.m. had better grades than their peers. The amount of sleep wasn’t as important as the actual bedtime, the study found.

Professors asked their students to wear Fitbits so they could track how physical activity impacted their grades. They found no impact when it came to working out, but students’ sleep habits did play a role. Students who went to bed before 2:00 a.m. had better grades. Additionally, those with consistent sleep habits performed better as well.

The research also debunked a big myth that parents like to tell their kids: that a good night’s rest before a big test can help improve your grade. The researchers found it takes several days of consistent sleep to improve your grade, so staying up late for several nights and sleeping heavily before the test is not a good idea.

Better sleep habits

The National Institutes of Health has several recommendations to help you improve your sleep:

  • Set a consistent schedule.
  • Exercise thirty minutes a day, but do it several hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day, and don’t drink alcohol right before bed.
  • Keep your sleep space cold and dark. People sleep better at around 68 degrees .

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