Scientists have shown that there is a link between long sleep and an increased risk of breast cancer. You can find out why this is so here.
As part of a study by the University of Bristol, researchers compared data from hundreds of thousands of women on their sleeping habits. They found that women who get up early, i.e. who are morning people, have a 40 to 48 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who can be described as late risers.
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It is characteristic of late risers that they exceed the recommended sleep duration of seven to eight hours a day. According to the researchers, however, the risk of breast cancer increases by 20 percent for every extra hour of sleep for these evening people.
Sleep late and increase risk of breast cancer
Like the online magazine “Dailymail.co.uk” reported, the analysis of the study also took into account a genetic predisposition of the people analyzed. Genetically, they are either “owls”, i.e. late risers and evening people. Or they are “larks”, early risers and morning people. Larks are therefore more productive in the morning, while owls only really get going in the evening.
The lead scientist Dr. Rebecca Richmond of the University of Bristol said in a press release: “We looked at genetic variants associated with people’s preference for morning or evening productivity, how long they slept and insomnia, to determine whether these sleep traits were causative contribute to breast cancer risk. ”Cliona Clare Kirwan of the University of Manchester, a non-participating member of the NCRI Breast Clinical Studies Group, said,“ These are interesting results that provide further evidence of how our body clocks and our natural sleep preferences are involved in the development of breast cancer. “
However, since there is a genetic predisposition to be “owls” or “larks”, the scientists have their doubts whether one can influence and reduce the risk of breast cancer by changing one’s sleeping habits. A large number of women took part in the study, including 180,215 participants in the British project “Biobank”, which stores medical research data from 500,000 people.
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In addition, the results of 228,951 women who participated in an international genetic study by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) were also included in the analysis. The results of the evaluation of the study by the University of Bristol were presented at the NCRI (National Cancer Research Institute) conference in Glasgow in 2018.
Lack of sleep and breast cancer
A few years ago, researchers speculated that there might be a connection between sleeping habits and cancer. Like the trade magazine “Aerzteblatt.de” reported, scientists from the “Seidmann Cancer Center” in Ohio in the course of a study examines to what extent aggressive forms of breast cancer and lack of sleep are related.
It evaluated 400 cases of breast cancer in women who were in the final phase of menopause. To do this, the researchers asked the test subjects about their average length of sleep they had had in the past two years prior to the diagnosis.
It turned out that the patients who slept an average of six hours a day had a higher expression of their tumor genes. The scientists therefore concluded that there could be a link between lack of sleep and an increased risk of breast cancer.
However, they admitted that the number of patients examined was too small and that the causality was therefore too vague. Further studies are needed to deepen the preliminary results and to be able to make more precise statements about the risk of breast cancer.