Night Owls Risk Dying Younger, Study Says


If you are one of those people who like to stay up late or who struggle to get up in the morning, more commonly-known as night owls, you might be in for some trouble.

Results showed that night owls have a 10 percent greater risk of dying than their "counterparts" who are early risers. As part of the Biobank research, people were asked to either identify as a morning or evening person from four options.

"And if their work hours were flexible to reflect their biological clock preference and allow the night owls to have a later work schedule, that would be preferable for them and potentially better for their health and their productivity if they're working at the time that's best for them".

"This first report of increased mortality in evening types is consistent with previous reports of increased levels of cardiometabolic risk factors in this group", the study reads.

The lead author, Kristen L. Knutson, an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University, said that while being a night owl is partly genetic, people can make adjustments - gradually making bedtime earlier, avoiding using smartphones before bed, and eventually moving themselves out of the "night owl zone".

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"Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep - all of these things are important, and maybe particularly so for night owls". They should try to be disciplined about bed-times and get jobs done early in the day rather than leaving them until late, she said.

British co-author Professor Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey, said: "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", he 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". Many of these effects may be attributable to a misalignment between a person's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, and the socially imposed timing of work and other activities, the researchers said.

"The findings for the mortality actually weren't as robust as I would have hoped". Definitive night owls had nearly double the risk of suffering from psychological disorders, about a 30% increased risk for diabetes, a 25% increased risk for neurological conditions, 23% increased risk for gastrointestinal disorders, and a 22% increased risk for respiratory disorders.

Knutson added, "employers should recognize that some of their employees are going to be morning types and some are going to be evening types". "It's strong in that it's a big sample of almost half a million people, but it is mainly Caucasians of Irish or English descent".

Knutson said that one problem night owls face is living in the morning lark work.

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