Sleep Duration and Disruption and Prostate Cancer Risk: a 23-Year Prospective Study

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Feb;25(2):302-8. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-1274. Epub 2015 Dec 16.


Background: Sleep deficiency is a major public health problem. There are limited human data on whether sleep duration or disruption are risk factors for prostate cancer.

Methods: We prospectively followed 32,141 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who reported their typical sleep duration in 1987, 2000, and 2008. We identified 4,261 incident prostate cancer cases, including 563 lethal cases through 2010. Sleep disruption was assessed in 2004 among 19,639 men, with 930 prostate cancer cases (50 lethal) identified from 2004 to 2010. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association between sleep insufficiency and risk of overall and lethal prostate cancer.

Results: In 1987, 2% of men reported sleeping ≤5 hours per night. We found no association between habitual sleep duration or change in sleep duration with the risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer. We also found no association between waking up during the night, difficulty falling asleep, or waking up too early, and risk of prostate cancer. In 2004, 6% of men reported never feeling rested when they woke up; these men had an increased risk of developing lethal prostate cancer compared with those who reported always feeling rested when they woke up (RR, 3.05; 95% CI, 1.15-8.10).

Conclusions: We found no consistent association between self-reported sleep duration or sleep disruption and any of our prostate cancer outcomes.

Impact: We did not find support for a consistent association between self-reported sleep and risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer in this large cohort of men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*