Being a Morning Lark May Reduce Risks of Breast Cancer in Women

New research provides links to your sleeping habits and developing diseases.
Fabienne Lang

Waking up with the sun, or early in the morning, has recently been proven to minimize the risk of developing breast cancer in women. 

The findings also pointed out that those who are evening owls or who sleep more than the advised seven to eight hours per night have a higher risk of developing cancer. 

Breast cancer is one of the more common types of cancer, affecting one in seven women at some point in their lives. 

Up until now there has been little research into the risk of breast cancer risks due to sleeping habits. This is precisely what a team of international researchers has set out to find. 


What did the team find?

The team used a technique to analyze three different sleep traits: morning and evening performance, length of sleep, and insomnia.

During their observational analysis, the team discovered that the women with a preference for mornings had a slightly lower risk of developing breast cancer than those with a preference for evenings. 

There was little to prove from analyzing sleep duration and insomnia. 

One important factor to mention, according to the team, is that the extent of these effects is minimal in comparison to other higher risk factors such as alcohol intake and BMI (or weight). 

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Being a Morning Lark May Reduce Risks of Breast Cancer in Women
Pink ribbon representing breast cancer awareness. Source: Marijana1 / Pixabay

Furthermore, there are also limitations to this study, as the researchers pointed out, because the team relied on self-reported morning habits from the women being studied, and only focused on women of European descent. 

Results may turn out differently for women of other backgrounds.

The team is the first to admit more research into the matter needs to happen, but their findings "have potential implications for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health."

Professor Eva Schernhammer of the University of Vienna said that this is a wonderful opportunity for preserving good health, more specifically, for developing new personalized strategies for reducing the risk of chronic diseases linked to our circadian system.

The research could also help to link better and more suited working hours for improved performance, and for healthier lives.

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