Breast cancer affects more than two million women, globally. In the US, it’s the second most common cancer among women after skin cancers.
Some of the risk factors for breast cancer include gender, age, obesity, alcohol consumption, gene mutation, and lack of exercise.
Research has also shown that exposure to nighttime light may increase one’s risk of getting breast cancer. Roller shutters Adelaide providers understand this too well, which is why they recommend the use of window furnishings that have high light control abilities.
How Exposure to Light at Night (LAN) Increases Your Risk of Getting Breast Cancer
The exposure to LAN increases breast cancer risk as it disrupts the secretion of the melatonin hormone, otherwise referred to as the sleep hormone.
During a typical sleep cycle, the reduction in light levels gives way to melatonin production. This hormone controls your internal body clock and also helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Melatonin also helps control the secretion of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Exposure to external light during nighttime reduces the secretion of melatonin and disrupts your sleep pattern.
Melatonin is said to slow down the growth of cancer cells in the lab. Some researchers further suggest that the reduction of melatonin secretion due to exposure to LAN results in increased circulation of the estrogen hormone, which is linked to breast cancer.
What Does Scientific Research Say
Past studies focusing on women who work at night and those exposed to artificial night light indicate that such women have low melatonin levels and a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
In one study, women working night shifts for an extended period were shown to have a higher risk of breast cancer. This was believed to be caused by the suppression of the production of the melatonin hormone.
Another study done on blind women found that they had a lower risk of contracting breast cancer due to their reduced likelihood of being exposed to LAN. A global study done by the University of Connecticut and the University of Haifa researchers sought to determine if countries’ LAN levels were associated with breast cancer occurrence. The findings reported a 30-50% increased risk of breast cancer in countries with the highest LAN levels.
In yet another study done by researchers from the National Cancer Institute in the US, the findings showed that exposure to artificial outdoor light at night could increase the risk of suffering from breast cancer by 10% among post-menopausal women.
Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure to LAN
If you’re one of those people who love to go through their phone before they sleep or you can’t sleep with the lights off, you may need to reduce your exposure to LAN.
Here is what you can do to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer due to exposure to nighttime light.
1. Don’t Sleep With the Lights On
Leaving your bedroom lights on while going to sleep can prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. When your brain is exposed to light during sleep, it can’t achieve deep sleep. Nighttime light also disrupts the secretion of melatonin that synchronises your body’s sleep-wake-up cycle.
Melatonin also regulates your blood pressure. So, exposure to light during sleep time can increase your blood pressure. Besides, exposure to blue light from gadgets such as phones and TVs before bed is equally bad.
Always ensure you put off your lights before going to sleep. Other ways you can reduce exposure to light during bedtime include:
- Don’t put on lights when you wake up at night
- Dim the lights in your bedroom one hour before going to bed to reduce sleep-disruption
- If you must sleep with the lights on, use an eye mask so that you can sleep in total darkness
- Remove digital gadgets such as blinking PC monitors, alarms, or blinking phones from your bedroom
2. Use Roller Shutters on Your Bedroom Windows
Roller shades block out more light than other fabrics, which is why they are the most effective for blocking street lighting on your bedroom window. Roller shutters can even give you complete light blackout as they come in varying degrees of opacity and colours. Roller shades are also perfect during the day as they filter out the sunlight without obscuring your view.
Other window treatments you can consider to keep out LAN include:
- Cellular shades
- Draperies and curtains
- Blackout shutters and blinds
3. Use Low Wattage Bulbs
While bright bulbs that mimic natural light make a room look brilliant, they can also be detrimental to restful sleep. This is why you should be smart when it comes to the bulbs you use in your home.
Bulbs that give dim light such as low wattage bulbs and red bulbs provide gentle lighting. They are also perfect for your bedroom or night lamps.
Exposure to light at night is one of the factors that cause breast cancer. The good thing is that something as simple as switching off your bedroom light at nighttime or using roller shutters can significantly reduce your risk of contracting breast cancer due to LAN.