How your sleeping habits can contribute to the risk of breast cancer

Nov 13, 2018
12:05 P.M.
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An extensive survey on women found out that breast cancer is less likely to appear on women who get up early.




carried out by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory aimed to investigate how sleep might contribute to the risk of breast cancer.

The large-scale study conducted on women concluded in its findings, submitted at the 2018 National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Glasgow, U.K., that women who are “morning people” might have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

For the research, the team of researchers studied genes associated with certain sleep factors including the preference for morning or evening, sleep duration, and insomnia.


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After analyzing the data gathered from such study, it was discovered that women who preferred mornings, nicknamed “Larks,” had a breast cancer risk that was 40 percent lower than those women who preferred the night, nicknamed “Owls.”


The study also discovered that women who slept for a time longer than the standard 7-8 hours of recommended sleep per night also had a higher risk, which increased by 20 percent for every extra hour of sleep.

An analysis of the UK Biobank data also revealed that being a lark rather than an owl reduced the risk of breast cancer by 48 percent. However, regarding the relationship between sleep duration and breast cancer, these data could not provide sufficient evidence.


The research further informed that it cannot sufficiently conclude that changing one’s sleep habits would necessarily alter the risk of breast cancer.


Although more in-depth research is required in this line of study before such conclusions can be reached, the existing findings have at least open a way for gathering new insights into the relationship between sleep and health.

The extensive research was led by Dr. Rebecca Richmond, a research fellow in the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, U.K. and the Cancer Research U.K. Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Program.

Here are 15 early signs of breast cancer that a woman should be aware of in order to diagnose it early on and stay safe.