Turns out being an early bird could not only get you the worm, but also potentially save your . life. Women who are naturally early risers were found to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. According to a study, one in 100 women who considered themselves morning people developed breast cancer, compared with two in every 100 women who called themselves evening people. Cancer risks associated with a person’s body clock and sleep patterns have been reported in previous researches as well as any genetic factors underlying this.
According to a new study proudly conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol, breast cancer risk is lowered for women who wake up early, much more so compared to their night-owl counterparts. So, how does this work? The findings from the study state that one in 100 women who said that they were morning people developed breast cancer, while two in every one hundred women who described themselves as later risers developed the illness.
According to American news company, CNN, during this study, sleep schedule preferences were reported by over 180 women of European descent in the UK due to Cancer risks associated with sleep schedules have already being suggested previously by research, and UK researchers set out to expand upon those findings with the current study. While study participants who self-reported as early risers seemingly showed lower rates of breast cancer.
According to the researchers involved in the study, everyone has a body clock that influences when they may sleep, their day to day moods, and maybe even their susceptibility to certain illnesses throughout their life. Morning people however, tend to have energy peaks earlier in the day which results in the individual getting tired earlier in the evening. People who like to go to bed late tend to be most productive later in the evening, and feel sleepier in the morning than early risers do. When circadian rhythms get disrupted, mood and health disorders can result. UK researchers also conducted a genetic analysis of study participants to better understand what the link between sleep patterns and breast cancer risk might be.
“We know that sleep is important generally for health,” Richmond told CNN. “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.”
However, while a link seems to exist between breast cancer risk and sleep patterns, the statistical model used in this study doesn’t necessarily imply causality, Dipender Gill, a clinical research training fellow at Imperial College London told CNN. “For example, the genetic determinants of sleep may also affect other … mechanisms that affect breast cancer risk independently of sleep patterns,” Gill said. So while sleep patterns might be associated with breast cancer risk, they don’t necessarily cause it, according to Gill — there may be other genetic and health factors at play.
“Sleep is likely to be an important risk factor for breast cancer,” Richmond told CNN. But other health factors, like excessive alcohol consumption, are more of a concern, she said. She further stated that night owls shouldn’t worry too much about the study’s findings, as there are many factors, some of which are genetic, that contribute to breast cancer risk.
The risk for the disease increases with age – with most cases diagnosed after the age of 50. A strong family history, inheriting a faulty gene, being overweight (and being female) also play a role here. Additionally, it’s only natural that more research is needed to be conducted to fully understand just how exactly circadian rhythm impacts the overall breast cancer risk in women.