Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (October 11, 2012)

Breast cancer and sleep

A Hispanic woman sleeps peacefully.
Listen to TipAudio

Breast cancer and prevention

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study links a lack of sleep with more aggressive breast cancer. At University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Cheryl Thompson saw that in data on 101 women with breast cancer, who were asked about their average sleep hours.

“Women who reported on average before diagnosis fewer hours of sleep per night had a higher likelihood of recurrence, so therefore a more aggressive breast tumor.”

These more dangerous tumors were more common among women who reported 6 hours or less of sleep per night.

Thompson says more data are needed to discover what accounts for the association, but she says 7 to 8 hours of sleep should still be a good thing.

The study in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: October 10, 2012