There’s been much debate about the best time for exercising, studies or doing any activity. In the eyes of our elderly generation there is no argument regarding this as early morning hours are the best ones without doubt. Even the renowned Tamil poet, Mahakavi Bharati has sung in his poems that morning time is the best time for studying as it is the part of the day when your mind is 100% fresh and concentration is at its ultimatum.
Body Clocks Not Alarm Clocks Determine our Sleep Timings
Despite such positive attributes attached to early morning hours not all of us are able to rise early in the morning. While there are some individuals who do night shifts or rotational shifts, apart from these guys what is preventing others from getting up early? There is always the body clock to blame! Each of us have a body clock which determines how our body works throughout the day which is also termed as circadian rhythm. This governs our body affecting each of our actions right from the time we go to sleep, our mood swings and also our risk for heart attacks. Some people’s body clock wakes them up earlier (larks) and hence, they start feeling tired earlier in the evening. Evening people (owls) find it harder to get up in the morning, get up late and are at their peak energy levels during the evening hours. Their productivity is also at a maximum and they prefer to go to bed late in the night. Our body clock is a wonderful piece of creation and for more insight on it, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
A new research has now found that women whose body clocks are set to get up early in the morning are at a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. While the research is of great importance for determining every woman’s risk for breast cancer the primary question here is to understand the underlying connection between circadian rhythm and breast cancer risk.
Body Clock that Clocks Breast Cancer Risk
The research involved more than 4,00,000 women making it the largest research collecting genetic data on breast cancer-affected women. With the already available information on genetic variants that distinguish between people’s preferences for rising early or late and sleep duration, the research team wanted to know if these traits affected breast cancer risk in any way. For this, they used the ‘Mendelian randomisation’ method which is based on linking genetic variants with risk factors (such as sleep timings) to find out breast cancer risk. For this, the research group looked at 341 snippets of DNA that are involved in making us a lark or an owl. The method analyzed data of women who were/were not affected by breast cancer and found that choosing to be a lark reduced the breast cancer risk by 40% compared to choosing to be an owl. Also, women who slept beyond the 7-8 hours of recommended sleep increased their risk by 20% for every additional hour slept.
Analysis of data from another reputed source too showed that morning larks were at a 48% reduced risk of breast cancer. Mendelian analysis of the trial showed that one less person per 100 will develop breast cancer if they were a lark compared to being an owl. This study is in line with previous studies that showed that shift work or late-night jobs increased the risk of breast cancer greatly. Night shift jobs have an extensive negative impact on both physical and mental health. This study too proves that variations in sleep patterns trigger cancer risk.
Sleep Well to Avoid Risk?
Though research says that disrupted sleep patterns are a strong factor for causing cancer they are not ready to conclude that a good night’s sleep is the best solution for this. Researchers feel that it’s not as simple as this and further insight is needed to explore the existing cause behind the risk factors that makes an evening person more prone to cancer risk compared to a morning person. There are many unanswered questions right now that include whether the body clock affects hormone levels to alter cancer risk or whether late-night owls are causing damage to their own body by acting against their body clock by working late-night or doing shift work. We are not sure of anything right now except for the fact that disrupted sleep pattern induces cancer risk.
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