Circadian rhithms, otherwise known as the 24-hour sleep / wake cycle of your body, determine when you feel sleepy and when it's time to wake up in the morning. In addition to sleep, your circadian rhythm can have a great deal of impact on your health. According to a new study by researchers at the University of Bristol, the risk of breast cancer is reduced to women who are waking up early in comparison with their colleagues with a night owl. While a still unannounced study is still awaiting review, the results show that one in 100 women who said this morning developed breast cancer this morning, while two in each of the hundred women who described themselves as later risers developed a disease, according to CNN.
CNN reports that more than 180 women of European descent in the United Kingdom have been registered for this study. Risk-related risks associated with sleep schedule have been suggested by previous research, and researchers from Britain have agreed to expand these findings with the current study. While study participants who reported themselves as early rispers showed lower breast cancer rates, the reasons for that are still not entirely clear, according to the BBC. The author of the study on lead, Dr Rebecca Richmond, a researcher in the epidemiology program against Cancer Research UK integrative cancer at the University of Bristol, presented these findings at the NCRI cancer conference in Glasgow on Tuesday, according to CNN.
According to the BBC, everyone has a body clock that affects sleeping, your mood and possibly even your susceptibility to certain illnesses. Morning people have earlier in the day of energy and have been tired earlier in the evening. People who want to go to bed are likely to become the most productive later, and feel like sleeping early in the morning. When the circadian rhythm is interrupted, there may be mood disorders and health problems. Researchers from the United Kingdom also conducted a genetic analysis of the participants in the study to better understand the link between sleep habits and breast cancer risk, according to CNN.
"We know sleep is important for health," Richmond told CNN. "These findings have a potential political implication for influencing sleep habits of the general population in order to improve health and reduce the risk of breast cancer in women."
However, while there appears to be a link between the risk of breast cancer and sleep pattern, the statistical model used in this study does not necessarily mean causality, says Dipender Gill, a clinical research scientist at Imperial College London for CNN. "For example, the genetic determinants of sleeping can also affect other … mechanisms that affect the risk of breast cancer, regardless of the form of sleep," said Gill. So while sleep patterns maybe connected with the risk of breast cancer, they do not necessarily cause, according to Gill, there may be other genetic and health factors.
"Sleeping is likely to be an important risk factor for breast cancer," Richmond told CNN. However, other factors of health, such as excessive alcohol consumption, are more worrying, she said. She further stated that night owls should not be too concerned about the findings of the study, as there are many factors, some of which are genetic, which contribute to the risk of breast cancer.
When it comes to sleeping well, and reducing the risk of a disease such as breast cancer, you sleep early when it can help you. And while you are asleep interrupt, or do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, can increase your chances of health problems like some cancers, more research is needed to fully understand how the circadian rhythm affects the risk of breast cancer.