Walking May Improve Sleep for Lung Cancer Patients
Walking may improve the quality of sleep for people with lung cancer, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer. Going for walks could also help patients with breast or colorectal cancer sleep well.
111 Patients with Stage 1 Lung Cancer Studied
The researchers enrolled 111 lung cancer patients. Nearly two-thirds of the patients had Stage 1 lung cancer, meaning the cancer had not spread beyond the lungs. The participants ranged in age from late 30s to early 80s.
The scientists randomly assigned 56 of the participants into the test group. The subjects participated in a 12-week intervention that included home-based walking exercise training and weekly exercise counseling. These participants walked at moderate intensity for 40 minutes, three times each week. The subjects filled out a survey on the quality of their sleep, recorded their exercise after every session and participated in weekly exercise counseling sessions. Wrist monitors collected information about their sleep.
The 55 participants in the control group received usual cancer care. They also had the opportunity to participate in exercise counseling.
The researchers measured several outcomes at three months and again at six months after the intervention. The outcomes included:
- Total sleep time
- Sleep efficiency
- Sleep onset latency
- Wake after sleep onset
- Quality of sleep, as experienced by the study participant
- Rest-activity rhythms
The researchers also looked at circadian rhythms, which is that 24-hour cycle of sleeping and waking each day. Many scientists think that, in addition to sleep cycles, circadian rhythms influence heart rate, inflammation, and metabolism. Disrupting the circadian rhythms can increase the risk of several chronic diseases.
The scientists measured how consistently the participants woke up and went to sleep at the same time every day. They found a strong link between exercise and improved sleep quality. The participants without the most disrupted circadian rhythms gained the most benefit.
Researchers Found Quality of Sleep Significantly Improved in the Group That Exercised
“Walking is safe, feasible and effective for patients. Just walk!” senior author Chia-Chin Lin, a nursing professor at Taipei Medical University, told Reuters Health.