Early rising women at lower risk of breast cancer

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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.

Women who like to wake up earlier have almost half the risk of breast cancer as their night owl counterparts, according to a study presented by British scientists on Tuesday.

"We would like to do further work to investigate the mechanisms underpinning these results, as the estimates obtained are based on questions related to morning or evening preference, rather than actually whether people get up earlier or later in the day", said Rebecca Richmond.

Researchers have found that women who prefer to get up and go to be early have a 40 to 48 per cent lower risk of breast cancer than those whose body clock leads them to feel drowsy in the morning and most energetic in the evening.

Researchers also looked at results from nearly 229,000 women signed up to an worldwide genetic study carried out by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium.

The data showed that women who were morning types, also known as "larks, ' had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who were evening types, or 'owls". There was less evidence of an association with either insomnia or sleep duration on risk of breast cancer in this study.

Early risers, also known as "larks", like to get up early and become exhausted earlier in the evening, while evening people, or "owls", find it hard to wake up in the morning but peak later in the day and prefer to sleep late.

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She said policy-makers and employers should take note of the research. "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".

Dan Damon has been speaking to one of the researchers, Professor Richard Martin - an expert in cancer epidemiology from the University of Bristol.

That's according to European researchers looking at International Genetic Data. The findings, which were not peer-reviewed, were presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

"We know already that night shift work is associated with worse mental and physical health. This study provides further evidence to suggest disrupted sleep patterns may have a role in cancer development", she said.

[1] Some of the percentages and numbers of cases in this press release have been updated since the abstract was submitted.

"The statistical method used in this study, called Mendelian randomization, does not always allow causality to be inferred", said Dipender Gill, clinical research training fellow at Imperial College London.

Women who love a lie-in have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has warned.

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