How Being a Night Owl Endangers Your Health

14 April, 2018, 06:31 | Author: Andrea Terry
  • A person pressing snooze on their alarm clock

That's according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, which found people who stay up late and sleep in late have a 10 percent higher risk of dying sooner compared to early risers.

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

People in the late-night group were more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, diabetes, and stomach and breathing troubles, and slept fewer hours per night. Though the study didn't examine the cause of this correlation, researchers suspect the problem doesn't actually have to do with sleeping in, specifically.

The question "Can owls become larks?" was also answered.

They also suggest that - the practice of advancing clocks during summer months - may harm the health of people who prefer evenings.

Night owls were 10 percent more likely to die during the six years compared to morning larks.

Although, we don't know for certain that being an evening person increases your risk of ill health.

Fellow author Kristen Knutson of the Northwestern University in Chicago said: "Night owls trying to live in a morning-lark world may (suffer) health consequences".

Just past year, researchers published a study wherein they linked poor grades to a mismatch in class hours and the students' biological clocks.

Results were published Thursday in the journal Chronobiology International.


Anyone who gravitates toward the nighttime knows what it's like when some killjoy in their lives forces them to get up too early the next day.

"It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment", Knutson told the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Another factor that makes things rough on night owls is Daylight Saving Time, von Schantz said in the release. As part of the Biobank research, people were asked to either identify as a morning or evening person from four options.

There could be many reasons. Those who consider themselves as an evening person were also more likely to drink alcohol and coffee, smoke and use illegal drugs. A lot of folks identify as night owls.

The duo analyzed information on more than 430,000 people aged 38 to 73 from a public database.

But the stress of trying to live against their natures could be at fault, they proposed.

"You can't just suddenly go to bed three hours earlier tonight because it won't work", Knutson said. "There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviours related to being up late in the dark".

"This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored", von Schantz added.

"These findings suggest the need for researching interventions aimed at allowing evening types greater working flexibility", the researchers said. "And we need more research about how we can help evening types cope with the higher effort of keeping their body clock in synchrony with sun time", he said.

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