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

A person pressing snooze on their alarm clock

Night owls may be at higher risk of an early death Kohei Hara Getty

Three scientists who study the body's internal clock won the Nobel Prize in Medicine a year ago.

The higher risk may be because "people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment", Knutson said.

Researchers focused on more than 433,000 people between the ages of 38 and 73.

Results showed that night owls have a 10 percent greater risk of dying than their "counterparts" who are early risers.

Study co-author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University, said this likely happens because "night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies".

He added that staying up late isn't inherently bad - it's only when you combine it with a society that pushes people to wake up early. 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".

Confirmed night owls must make sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, she said.

A new study finds that night owls have an increased risk of early death compared to early birds.

The study revealed a 10 per cent higher risk of late sleepers and wakers compared to early birds.

The research involved almost 500,000 people, aged between 38 and 73, and found that around 9pc considered themselves evening people, while 27pc identified as morning types. "Further, increased eveningness was significantly associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality over 6.5 years", the study said.

"We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical", he said in the statement. Bottom line: Night people are 10% more likely to live a shorter life thank larks are.

Knutson said that "you're not doomed".

The study, published in the journal Chronobiology International, found higher rates of diabetes, mental disorders and neurological conditions among night owls. "Part of it you don't have any control over and part of it you might".

"If we can recognize these chronotypes are‚ in part‚ genetically determined and not just a character flaw‚ jobs and work hours could have more flexibility for owls‚" she said.

They're investigating whether bright light therapy in the morning, or melatonin in the evening, might be able to shift our chronotype, possibly improving health outcomes. Evidently, night owls were found to be most vulnerable to what is called the social jet lag, especially since most classes are in the morning.

People in the late-night group were more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, diabetes, and stomach and breathing troubles, and slept fewer hours per night.

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