If you're an early riser, then give yourself a pat on the back. New research suggests that women who are morning people have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
The November 2018 research, presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference, analyzed data from 180,215 women enrolled with the UK Biobank project and 228,951 women who participated in a breast cancer study led by the international Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Results showed that women who preferred mornings had a 40 to 48 percent reduced risk of getting breast cancer. Interestingly enough, research also showed that women who slept longer than the recommended seven to eight hours had a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer per each additional hour slept.
"Using genetic variants associated with people’s preference for morning or evening, sleep duration and insomnia, which had previously been identified by three recent UK Biobank genome-wide association studies, we investigated whether these sleep traits have a causal contribution to the risk of developing breast cancer," said Rebecca Richmond, a research fellow at the University of Bristol involved in the study, in a press release.
Although the study did find evidence for a "protective effect" against the risk of breast cancer, it's worth keeping in mind that the research did not prove that being an early bird alone can prevent breast cancer. More research is needed to understand the connection between regularly waking up early and the reduced likelihood of a breast cancer diagnosis.
"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 Richmond. "In other words, it may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that."
That said, it's always a good time to improve your snooze habits. Check out some of the best expert tips for getting a better night's sleep and see if you don't immediately notice a positive change in your day. There's nothing quite like catching some good zzzs!