Medicine

Late risers may die sooner, study finds

Late risers may die sooner, study finds

According to new research "night owls" have a higher risk of death than people who naturally wake up early. They found that the people who identified themselves as "definite evening types" had a 10% higher risk of dying over the study period than people who said they were "definite morning types" at the start of the study. "Approximately, 27 percent identified as definite morning types, 35 percent as moderate morning types, 28 percent as moderate evening types and 9 percent as definite evening types", they wrote.

Deaths in the group - just over 10,500 in total - were documented over the 61/2-year study period.

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". The study posits, "Mortality risk in evening types may be due to behavioral, 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". "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". There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviours related to being up late in the dark by yourself.

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." "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".

Dr Knutson added: "You're not doomed". This means that those that went to bed later at night were still reporting the same overall amount of sleep as those going to bed early.

But night owls still had a 10 per cent higher risk of death after the effects of health were adjusted for. Researchers said it could make a difference health wise.

People who describe themselves as an "evening person" may be at higher risk of poor health compared to morning types. "Part of it you dont have any control over and part of it you might". Try to keep a regular bedtime and not let yourself drift to later bedtimes. "They shouldn't be forced to get up for an 8 a.m. shift".

Knutson and the team suggest several tips for night owls that could help optimize their health, including regimented bed times, better awareness of negative nighttime lifestyle behaviors (such as late-night eating), and trying to get exposure to as much morning and daylight as possible. Apart from personal changes, they also state that it's important for society to recognize that people have different biological clocks that sometimes do not match with the environment.


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