'Night owls' risk earlier deaths and should sleep in, study finds

Night owls

After adjusting for factors such as sleep duration, body mass index, sex, ethnicity, age, and smoking status, researchers concluded that the risk of dying for those who claimed to be night owls or "definitely evening times" were higher by 10 percent compared to "definitely a morning type".

Knutson's study of almost a half million people found night owl habits foul up our internal clock.

The participants had defined themselves as either "definitely a morning person" (27%), "more a morning person than evening person" (35%), "more an evening than a morning person" (28%), or "definitely an evening person" (9%).

The researchers tracked 500,000 British people over six years, and corrected their figures for common problems suffered by night owls such as heart disease.

Night owls have been found to be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and other complications, but this new study is the first of its kind to link a late-night lifestyle to an overall higher risk of earlier death.

People in the late-night group were more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, diabetes and stomach and breathing troubles; they slept fewer hours per night, and were also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and coffee, and use illegal drugs.

"It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment", Knutson said. "Some people may be better suited to night shifts". A 2017 study claims those tendencies could be linked to your genes.

Heart disease
GETTYHeart and metabolic problems often result from poor sleeping behaviour

If you stay up late at nights and struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, you are much more likely to die young, a study has found.

Genetics and the environment played roughly equal roles in determining whether you are a night or morning person, said the scientists.

The study was published April 12 in the journal Chronobiology International. "There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviours related to being up late in the dark". Make work shifts match peoples' chronotypes.

"If the body is expecting you to do something at a certain time like sleep or eat and you're doing it at the quote "wrong time" then your body's physiology may not be working as well", she explains. According to him, "night owls" should benefit from greater flexibility in the job so that they can start and finish their work later.

One of the study's authors, Kristen Knutson, believes the reason for the results might be that night owls are trying to live in an early bird's world. 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.

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

Once you've managed to gradually advance your bedtime, you must keep to a regular sleeping schedule and avoid drifting back into your night owl habits, Knutson said.

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