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Are You A Morning Lark? Here's Some Good News For You

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"Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together." - Thomas Dekker

The recommended sleep duration for adults is 7 to 9 hours, and sleep patterns vary among people. Some are night owls, i.e., people who prefer to be awake till the wee hours of the night and then go to sleep. Some are morning larks, i.e., people who are up early and go to bed early.

Previous studies have found that working long-term night shifts promotes cancer, especially breast cancer, due to the disruption of circadian rhythm.

A study, conducted by Rebecca Richmond of the University of Bristol, and colleagues, which analyzed the potential adverse effects of three particular sleep traits namely, morning or evening preference (chronotype), sleep duration, and insomnia, suggests that being a 'morning person' is linked to lower risk of breast cancer.

However, the study, which involved participants in the UK Biobank study and the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) study, offers little evidence for an association between breast cancer risk and sleep duration or insomnia symptoms.

The study, titled" Investigating causal relations between sleep traits and risk of breast cancer in women: mendelian randomisation study" is published in The BMJ .

In an editorial that accompanies the study, here's what Eva Schernhammer, a professor from the University of Vienna, says, "Ultimately, the provocative findings of Richmond and colleagues identify a need for future research exploring how the stresses on our biological clock can be reduced. This offers a tremendous opportunity for preserving good health, achieving healthy aging, and, more specifically, for developing new personalized strategies for reducing the risk of chronic diseases associated with the circadian system. In addition to testing interventions aiming to modify diurnal preference, this line of research could also help to align working hours with chronotype - to more closely match externally imposed timing with individual diurnal preference, especially in the working population".

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