Early risers are less likely to develop breast cancer

Early risers are less likely to develop breast cancer

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Does our sleep behavior affect the risk of breast cancer?

Researchers found that women's sleeping habits are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. Women who wake up early in the morning had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer.

The University of Bristol research found that women who wake up early are less likely to develop breast cancer than late risers. The results were published in the English language journal "The BMJ".

Effects of sleep on breast cancer

Our sleeping habits affect the risk of breast cancer. However, the study's authors add that other breast cancer risk factors such as alcohol consumption and obesity have a far greater impact than our sleep. One in a hundred women who were early risers developed breast cancer, compared to two in 100 women who described themselves as night people. The study also found that sleep times greater than an average of seven to eight hours a night increased the risk of breast cancer slightly.

Where did the evaluated data come from?

For their study, the researchers used information from more than 400,000 women from two large databases. The data for approximately 180,000 women came from the UK Biobank study and the data for more than 220,000 women came from a study by the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The participants' preference to get up early or late was taken into account in the data.

Do changes in sleeping habits protect against breast cancer?

It is important to note that these data in no way suggest that a change in sleeping habits will ultimately reduce breast cancer risk, the researchers report. Presumably, the risk of breast cancer is related to a genetic (i.e. unchangeable) trait, which is also linked to whether people are more morning or night people.

More research is needed

The study results complement previous research that suggests a relationship between sleep-related behaviors and the risk of negative health outcomes. However, the study provides no information about the process by which sleep characteristics influence the risk of breast cancer. Much more research is needed to fully elucidate the effects of sleep patterns on health. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Rebecca C. Richmond, Hassan S. Dashti, Samuel E. Jones, Jacqueline M. Lane et all .: Investigating causal relations between sleep traits and risk of breast cancer in women: mendelian randomization study; The BMJ (query: 27.06.2019), The BMJ

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