The early bird gets the worm.
If you’re someone who likes to sleep in, people have probably said it to you all your life.
It’s supposed to inspire you to wake up early and seize the day… but some people are just born night owls.
But is it something you need to change?
An old study proved that being a night owl carries with it a 10 percent higher risk of dying early compared to morning larks, those who go to bed early and wake with the sun.
Now, according to brand-new research out of the U.K. that was presented at the 2018 National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference, there’s another very important reason you might want to rethink your sleeping habits.
What’s sleep got to do with it?
Researchers looked at data from 180,215 women enrolled with the U.K. Biobank project, along with 228,951 women who had been part of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer conducted by the International Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC) — the largest collection of genetic data on women with breast cancer obtained so far.
The team used a method called “Mendelian randomization,” to look at genetic variants associated with the women’s preference for morning or evening, their sleep duration and whether they suffered from insomnia. Then they compared their risk of developing breast cancer.
According to Dr. Rebecca Richmond, “The method of Mendelian randomization applied in this research is particularly useful at identifying causal risk factors for disease since the genetic variants identified in relation to the sleep traits are not likely to be influenced by any external or environmental factors, nor by the development of cancer, and can therefore be used to determine cause and effect relationships.”
In other words, the method allowed them to see not only if being a night owl or a morning lark was linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, but whether the factor is a direct cause of the disease.
And what they found could make you want to change your sleep habits forever.
The team discovered that women with a preference for mornings reduced their risk of breast cancer by a full 40 to 48 percent compared to women who were considered evening types.
They also found that women who slept longer than the recommended seven to eight hours each night had a whopping 20 percent increased risk of the breast cancer per every additional hour slept.
Those are some serious risks just for enjoying the evening hours or getting a little extra sleep, don’t you think?
Altering your sleep habits
So, if you want to decrease odds for breast cancer, is it time to ditch your night owl ways and become a lark?
Dr. Richmond said this, “It may not be the case that changing your habits changes your risk of breast cancer; it may be more complex than that. However, the findings of a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk in our study are consistent with previous research highlighting a role for night shift work and exposure to ‘light-at-night’ as risk factors for breast cancer.”
And Ms. Cliona Clare Kirwan, from the University of Manchester who is a member of the NCRI Breast Clinical Studies Group, clarified further saying, “We know already that night shift work is associated with worse mental and physical health. This study provides further evidence to suggest disrupted sleep patterns may have a role in cancer development.”
After all is said and done, if you can change your sleep patterns, it’s probably a very good idea to try.
A few years ago, I found myself so fatigued during the day I could barely keep my eyes open. I was constantly waking up in the middle of the night and then I’d sleep as late as could because I was so tired.
All that changed when I got to the root of my sleepless nights and tired days: adrenal fatigue.
When adrenals become fatigued due to chronic stress and high cortisol levels, hormones are disrupted. When adrenals are functioning properly, hormone production is optimized.
Adaptogen herbs help me find balance. They set my daytime energy levels straight so, by the time my head hits the pillow at night, I’m relaxed and ready for deep, healthy sleep — without any of the nasty side effects of sleep aids.
Come morning, I can’t wait to start another day enjoying my life and my health. And that’s one worm this early bird is willing to share!