According to a recent study, those who have irregular sleep habits are more likely to develop cancer. The new study was conducted on lab mice and revealed that the rodents that didn’t sleep based on a regular schedule had a higher risk of developing cancer. The researchers who conducted the study said that it highlights the risks the shift workers face by having irregular sleep habits.
The scientists found a strong association between the lab rats that didn’t sleep at a regular interval of time and the onset of cancer. The study also revealed that the mice who were not sleeping regularly were about 20% heavier than the ones that slept regularly, despite eating the same amount of food.
According to the scientists who conducted the study, women who have a history of breast cancer in their family should avoid working in late night shifts, however, further research is needed in order to determine if there is a real connection between irregular sleep habits and an increased risk of cancer.
The findings of the new study were published in the latest edition of the journal Current Biology.
Previous research suggests that women with jobs like flight attendant and shift worker were more likely to develop diseases like breast cancer. This risk was higher in women who slept only according to when their shift was over. Experts explain this connection saying that working shifts and sleeping irregularly can interrupt the internal clock of the body, confusing the natural processes of out metabolism, thus increasing the risk of developing certain diseases.
However, the researchers said that the link between the two is not very certain as there are other factors that can affect those who work in shifts and could lead to cancer, such as the level of activity, social class, and even the amount of vitamin D.
The researchers delayed the internal clocks of the rats that were genetically modified to develop breast cancer. Their internal clock was delayed by 12 hrs every week for almost a year. After about 50 weeks, many mice had developed tumors regardless of their sleeping habits. However, the study showed that the mice that had their sleep interrupted, the tumors grew in the first 8 weeks.
While the connection between irregular sleep habits and cancer is strong, the doctors said they need human trials in order to determine it the association is relevant.
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