Night owls face the risk of earlier death‚ study concludes


The research, which involved almost half a million people, found that self-described "evening people" were 10 percent more likely to die over a 6.5-year period, compared with self-described morning people. They were asked to identify as a "definite morning type" a "more a morning person than evening person", "moderate evening type" or a "definite an evening person".

About 433,268 people participated in this study and over the course of the six and a half years, 10.000 of them died.

There are many other problems that come with being a night owl.

"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.

"'Night owls" trying to live in a "morning lark' world may have health consequences for their bodies", study co-author Kristen Knutson, an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement.

"It could be psychological stress, eating at the wrong time for their body, not exercising enough, not sleeping enough, being awake at night by yourself, maybe drug or alcohol use", Knutson said.

"It is a public health problem that cannot be ignored", said Malcolm von Schantz, a professor of chronobiology at Surrey University.

Even more, passing towards the daylight saving time coincides with a higher incidence of heart attacks and for the late risers is more hard to adapt to the change, say the researchers.

- Doing things earlier and being less of an evening person as much as you can. Make work shifts match peoples' chronotypes.

"The findings for the mortality actually weren't as robust as I would have hoped".

Scientists found that night owls had higher rates of diabetes, psychological disorders and neurological disorders than early birds.

A 2014 study also showed that those who stay up late had less white matter in certain areas of the brain associated with depression.

"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.

Dr Knutson said that one way night owls could help themselves was to ensure they are exposed to light early in the morning, but not at night. But overall, the tendency to feel more alert and alive in the morning or evening remains, no matter how much people try to change it.

Knutson and colleagues also said that the society can help.

"Part of it you don't have any control over", she said, "part of it you might". Generally, if people prefer to go to bed later and wake up later on days they don't have to work, they're probably suffering from at least some degree of social jetlag.