Morning "Larks" Have Lower Risk of Getting Breast Cancer


A University of Bristol study has found a link between early risers and a lower risk of breast cancer.

The researchers who compared data on hundreds of thousands of women found that those with an in-built morning preference were 40 per cent to 48 per cent less at risk of breast cancer.

Interestingly, the study also found that sleeping longer isn't necessarily better, as the analysis showed that women who slept longer than the recommended seven to eight hours per night increased their chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer by 20% per additional hour.

Lead scientist Dr Rebecca Richmond, from the University of Bristol, said: "Using genetic variants associated with people's preference for morning or evening, sleep duration and insomnia. we investigated whether these sleep traits have a causal contribution to the risk of developing breast cancer".

'In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that.

However, Dr Richmond pointed out that the possible protective effect of being a morning person on breast cancer risk was in keeping with previous research showing that working night shifts and "light-at-night" exposure increased the risk of breast cancer. The team presented their findings at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, while their paper, published on bioRxiv, awaits peer review.

Women who love a lie-in have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has warned. "These findings have potential policy implications for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health and reduce risk of breast cancer among women".

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Researchers looked at 341 pieces of DNA and used them for an experiment involving over 400,000 women.

Take our quiz to find out whether you are a morning type, or an evening owl. "For example, the genetic determinants of sleep may also affect other neuronal mechanisms that affect breast cancer risk independently of sleep patterns".

The study was funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

And this is involved in breast cancer?

So will a good night's sleep stop me getting cancer? The World Health Organization already says disruption to people's body clocks because of shift work is probably linked to cancer risk.

Being a morning person is partly down to genetics, so this lowered risk does make some sense. This study provides further evidence to suggest disrupted sleep patterns may have a role in cancer development.

About the NCRI Cancer ConferenceThe NCRI Cancer Conference is the UK's largest forum showcasing the latest advances in cancer research.

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