Health Care

Night owls face health risks, study reveals

Night owls face health risks, study reveals

New research by the University of Surrey and Northwestern University in the U.S. found that people who naturally stay up late were 10pc more likely to die within the six-and-a-half-year study period compared to those who preferred the morning.

The duo gathered information on almost half a million people aged between 38 and 73 from a public database.

At the beginning of the study period, participants were asked whether they considered themselves to be morning people or evening people, or whether they felt they fell somewhere in between those two groups. "Deaths in the sample were tracked up to six and half years later - and then it was calculated what type of person was most likely to die", the study reads.

Although the study did not look at the specific causes of death, research has suggested that night owls are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer such as prostate and breast cancer. The study also found evening types also had higher risks for conditions such as diabetes or psychological disorders.

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"It is important for people who are night owls to learn there may be health consequences, but there may be things they can do to help overcome those problems", Knutson said. A 2017 study claims those tendencies could be linked to your genes.

People who stay up late and have to drag themselves out of bed are likelier to die younger than those who rise and set with the sun, researchers said Thursday.

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

The data was taken from the U.K. Biobank - a large pool of data created to identify risk factors of major diseases - and published in the Chronobiology International journal. Make work shifts match peoples' chronotypes.

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For instance, stress, diet, isolation and drug and alcohol use are all known to contribute to ill-health and may be responsible for the different medical outcomes for morning and evening types. You should also work to get in bed earlier, Knutson said, and try to run errands closer to the beginning of the day if possible.

"We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical".

After controlling for factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status and sleep duration, the researchers found that those who identified as "definite evening types" had a 10% increased risk of dying during the follow-up period compared with those who identified as "definite morning 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.

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. 35 percent as "more a morning person than an evening person", 28 percent as "more an evening than morning person" and 9 percent as "definitely an evening person".

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