April 26, 2018

Night Owls Have Higher Risk of Early Death

12 April 2018, 09:30 | Lena Norman

Why night owls are more likely to die early: People who prefer to go to bed late damage their health because it impacts their heart and metabolism

Night owls have higher risk of dying sooner

According to him, "night owls" should benefit from greater flexibility in the job so that they can start and finish their work later. In order to evaluate natural circadian rhythm, otherwise known as their chronotype, participants were asked to identify as "definitely a morning person", "more a morning person than evening person", "more an evening than a morning person" or "definitely an evening person".

About 433,268 people participated in this study and over the course of the six and a half years, 10.000 of them died.

The study, which looked at more than 430,000 adults in the United Kingdom, found "night owls" had a 10 percent higher risk of dying than "larks". But even after accounting for these conditions, the study still found that evening people had a slightly higher risk of dying during the study period, compared with morning people.

In the new study, scientists found owls had higher rates of diabetes, psychological disorders and neurological disorders.

Everything from work time to meal time occurs at a time that doesn't feel right for night owls, a state that researchers call "social jetlag". But one way to help shift your behavior is to get plenty of exposure to light early in the morning but not at night, according to Knutson. Malcolm von Schantz, study co-author and professor of chronobiology at the University of Surrey, said in a statement that his research is further proof that "this is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored." "Mortality risk in evening types may be due to behavioural, psychological and physiological risk factors, many of which may be attributable to chronic misalignment between internal physiological timing and externally imposed timing of work and social activities".

"You're not doomed. Part of it you don't have any control over, and part of it you might."

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The volunteers involved in the study were self-characterized either as "definite morning type" (27%), "moderate morning type" (35%), "moderate evening type" (28%) or "definite evening type" (9%).

Staying up awake late in the night will make you feel much more than just being groggy in the morning.

Knutson added, "employers should recognize that some of their employees are going to be morning types and some are going to be evening types". Teenagers tend to naturally have later chronotypes (body clocks shift throughout life and most teens are night owls), and a growing body of research has shown that shifting school start times later improves school performance.

"We wanted to see whether this translated also into an increased risk of mortality and no one had done that before", said lead author Kristen Knutson, an anthropologist at Northwestern University.

"Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep - all of these things are important, and maybe particularly so for night owls".

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