Being a night owl could lead to health risks

Night owls have higher risk of dying sooner

Night owls have higher risk of dying sooner

According to a study, if you are a "night owl", or like to stay up late and have trouble dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, you are at a higher risk of dying sooner than morning "larks", people who have a natural preference for going to bed early and rising with the Sun. According to a new study, which the journal Chronobiology International recently published, this might bring with it diabetes, psychological issues and most importantly, an increased risk of early death.

"This is just one piece of the puzzle", said Jamie Zeitzer, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences (sleep medicine) at the Stanford School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.

The researchers also called for more studies on whether night owls can adjust their circadian rhythms so that they become morning people, and whether such an adjustment would lower those individuals' risk of health problems.

"You're not doomed", added Dr Knutson."Part of it you don't have any control over and part of it you might". The researchers behind the study took a look at 504,642 people aged between 37 and 73 from the UK Biobank cohort.

The participants had defined themselves as either "definitely a morning person" (27 percent), "more a morning person than evening person" (35 percent), "more an evening than a morning person" (28 percent), or "definitely an evening person" (nine percent).

They compared the different types, adjusting for a range of factors, including the study participants' age, sleep duration and existing health problems.

"Understanding the link between chronotype and mortality could lead to the development of additional behavioural strategies to mitigate risk associated with being an evening type".


Kristen Knutson, of Northwestern Medicine says, "We found that the night owls had a 10 percent increased risk of dying over about a six and a half year period". "So it was really something about being a true evening type that was problematic". But the researchers had some ideas. As a result, the mismatch between their body clock and their external world impacts their health in the long run, particularly if they have irregular schedule.

Being a night owl is a fact of biology, not a choice.

But should you really give up night owl superpowers to make the shift to dayside?

One of the main reasons researchers think evening people tend to have these health conditions is that their body clocks aren't properly aligned with society.

In conclusion, the study concluded that late risers and "night owls" present increased risks of premature death by 10%.

"You can find a job that starts later, but that's not a particularly useful piece of advice for a lot of people", Zeitzer said. "Some people may be better suited to night shifts".

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