Morning people 'less likely to develop breast cancer'

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Getting up earlier could work in your favour if you’re a woman [Photo: Getty]

Morning people who peak in the early hours of the day are less at risk of breast cancer compared to their ‘evening’ counterparts, a study has found.

Early risers, also known as ‘larks’, like to get up early and become tired earlier in the evening, while evening people, or ‘owls’, find it difficult to wake up in the morning but peak later in the day and prefer to sleep late.

People tend to be genetically programmed to fall into either of these categories.

Researchers looked at the DNA from a total of 410,000 women, based on whether they were lark or owl types. They found two in 100 owls developed breast cancer over an eight-year period, compared to one in 100 larks.

But, if your body clock is determined by your DNA, is there anything natural ‘larks’ can do to lower their breast cancer risk?

According to Breast Cancer Now, one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Well-known risk factors include smoking, alcohol, age and family history.

But Dr Rebecca Richmond, a University of Bristol researcher who co-authored the study, says it remains unknown how this new finding could influence breast cancer prevention.

She tells the BBC: “We still need to get at what makes an evening person more at risk than a morning person… we need to unpick the relationship.”

In other words, it is at present unknown whether it is your genetic body clock itself, or living out of sync with it – for instance, forcing yourself to get up early for work if you are a lark – which affects your breast cancer risk.

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