According to the Center for Disease Control, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. This is true no matter your race or ethnicity, so any step you can take to diminish your risk of contracting it is worth investigating and taking to heart. New research out of the University of Georgia has found that disruptions in your internal 24-hour clock caused by artificial light “significantly increase your risk of breast cancer.”

Your 24-hour clock

Your internal clock, circadian rhythm or 24-hour clock is a powerful force in your body. We have evolved from the beginning with a natural day-night cycle of light and dark. The systems in your body rely on this in order to prepare for the activities, like eating or sleeping, that occur at different times of day.

More or less, our bodies are built for a 24-hour cycle. When we disrupt this cycle, we may pay a price. This may be temporary, like the feelings of jet lag, or, as researchers have found, lead to an increase in breast cancer rates.

Saving energy and fighting breast cancer

According to the study, published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, artificial light is a frequent culprit in the disruptions of our 24-hour clock that lead to breast cancer. Numerous studies have been conducted looking into the connection between our internal clock and increase risk of disease, allowing researchers at UGA to look at the data from multiple studies in order to draw conclusions.

Flight attendants, for example, are frequent victims of jet lag and irregular sleep schedules from shift work, making them an ideal group to look at. Lead researcher and graduate student, Chunla He found they had a notable increase in breast cancer risk compared to 9-5 workers.

According to He, “People naturally secrete the hormone melatonin, which helps to regulate the circadian rhythm. When the sleep-wake cycle is disrupted by artificial light, melatonin secretion is adversely affected.”

He recommends that we do our best to avoid working long hours and spend less time in artificial light.

Turning off or dimming the lights earlier is a great way to practice proper sleep hygiene for just this reason. Your body takes the hint and gets ready for sleep, thereby keeping your circadian rhythm better regulated.

You can learn a whole lot more about how the Olumia Life system can improve your 24-hour clock with better sleep habits, and even exercise and diet, by browsing other articles on this site or checking out the Olumia Life app.

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