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09 November 2018, 10:03 | Melissa Porter
Breast cancer awareness
One in 100 women who considered themselves morning people developed breast cancer, compared with two in every 100 women who called themselves evening people.
The research - which was presented Tuesday at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Glasgow - adds to previous findings suggesting women who work night shifts or sleep in brighter environments have a higher risk of developing cancer.
"We also found some evidence for a causal effect of increased sleep duration and sleep fragmentation on breast cancer, assessed using objective measurements of sleep obtained from movement monitors worn by around 85,000 UK Biobank participants".
Mendelian randomisation analysis of these data revealed that approximately one less person per 100 will develop breast cancer if they have a morning preference compared to people who have an evening preference.
The samples from BCAC showed that those with lark variants had a 40 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those with night owl variants. The variation is due to technical differences, stated Richmond.
The analysis of the UK Biobank women also gave similar results, with the team finding that a preference for mornings reduced the risk of breast cancer by 48 per cent, although there was less evidence of an association between insomnia or sleep duration on risk of breast cancer in this group. Also, the findings can not be applied across populations as the majority of women included were of European ancestry.
"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", Richmond said.
The American Cancer Society says 45% of cancer deaths in the United States are linked to modifiable risk factors, such as cigarette smoke, excess body weight, eating red and processed meat and physical inactivity.
"Larks" tend to go to bed and wake up early, and feel most productive earlier in the morning, while "night owls" feel drowsy in the morning and have the most energy later, making it harder for them to wake up early.
"We know that sleep is important generally for health", said Richmond.
Dr Emma Pennery, of the Breast Cancer Care charity, said: 'Changing your sleeping habits is not as easily done as other proven risk-reducing choices, as they're often part and parcel with jobs, parenting or other health conditions'.
Our circadian rhythms, or body clocks, control bodily functions such as sleep patterns, blood pressure and metabolism and when disturbed can increase the risk of cancers and other diseases. However, experts warn more research is needed and the existing findings can not be applied more widely.
More research will be needed to look into the relationship between sleep patterns and breast cancer, so don't have a massive panic if you're a late to bed, late to rise type of person just yet.
AXA Mansard, a member of AXA, a global leader in insurance and asset management, said it joined in the observance of the concluded breast cancer awareness.
So will a good night's sleep stop me getting cancer?
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