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Sleep duration and breast cancer prognosis: perspectives from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study



To examine whether baseline sleep duration or changes in sleep duration are associated with breast cancer prognosis among early-stage breast cancer survivors in the multi-center Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study.


Data were collected from 1995 to 2010. Analysis included 3047 women. Sleep duration was self-reported at baseline and follow-up intervals. Cox proportional hazard models were used to investigate whether baseline sleep duration was associated with breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer-specific mortality, and all-cause mortality. Time-varying models investigated whether changes in sleep duration were associated with breast cancer prognosis.


Compared to women who slept 7-8 h/night at baseline, sleeping ≥9 h/night was associated with a 48% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence (Hazard ratio [HR] 1.48, 95% Confidence interval [CI] 1.01, 2.00), a 52% increased risk of breast cancer-specific mortality (HR 1.52, 95% CI 1.09, 2.13), and a 43% greater risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.43, 95% CI 1.07, 1.92). Time-varying models showed analogous increased risk in those who inconsistently slept ≥9 h/night (all P < 0.05), but not in those who consistently slept ≥9 h/night.


Consistent long or short sleep, which may reflect inter-individual variability in the need for sleep, does not appear to influence prognosis among early-stage breast cancer survivors.

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