People who describe themselves as a “Night Owls” may not live as long as those who consider themselves a “morning person, according to a new study that followed more than 430,000 adults in the UK. Participants were between the ages 38 to 73. They were studied for six and a half years. At the end of the trial, researchers compared the death rates. Those who prefer the evenings were 10 percent more likely to die during the six-year study than early risers.
27% of the participants defined themselves as “definitely a morning person”, and 35% said they were “more a morning person than evening person” while “more an evening than a morning person” was at 28%, and 9% said they were “definitely an evening person.’ The participants also listed their weight, smoking habits, and socioeconomic status.
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Researchers also looked at medical issues. Health issues like diabetes and psychological, neurological and gastrointestinal disorders were less common for those who wake up earlier.
The researchers think that sleeping late and the ill-health effects are related to the “internal body clock” being in disarray, but it’s not clear whether or not the late sleep itself is causing the trouble as people who prefer the night were also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and coffee, eat poorly, and use illegal drugs. While it seems clear that going to sleep at a decent hour, getting enough quality sleep, and being tuned into the circadian rhythm we humans have evolved with promotes better health than staying up late, the finding is only an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship.
Previous research has linked body-clock disruption to chronic disease including diabetes, hypertension, and mental health problems like depression.
Researchers are investigating whether bright light therapy in the morning or melatonin supplementation in the evening, could shift our chronotype, possibly improving people’s health outcomes.
The authors of the study also suggest that more thought should be given to how our working patterns are designed.
These findings suggest the need for researching interventions aimed at allowing evening types greater working flexibility.”
They also suggest that daylight saving time could disproportionality harm the health of those who prefer evenings.
The switch to daylight saving time is perceived as more uncomfortable by evening types than morning types, placing a further burden on individuals who are already struggling with when to start the working day.”
People Who Sleep and Wake Up Late, Take Solace…
If you prefer the evenings, here’s some good news for you. Scientific research has shown a correlation with higher IQ scores and more for those who prefer the night. They are also said to be more creative. President Obama, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley are well known for being nocturnally active.