Night owls have higher risk of dying sooner than morning types

Posted April 14, 2018

The night owl group, the team found, had a 10 percent higher risk of dying than those in the early-morning group.

Jamie Zeitzer, an associate psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford who was not involved with the study, told CNN that these results are "just one piece of the puzzle", Zeitzer told the outlet that she hoped the findings would have been more robust, and asked the question "So, are people going to be at their correct time?"

Results were published Thursday in the journal Chronobiology International.

The difference held true even after adjusting for expected health problems in night owls, such as metabolic dysfunction and heart disease.

Study co-author Malcolm van Schantz of the University of Surrey, arguing that "night types" should be allowed to start and finish work later in the day, said: "This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored". "Mortality risk in evening types may be due to behavioural, 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".

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.

"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", she explains.

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The study found that night owls have higher rates of diabetes, mental problems and neurobiological conditions.

The switch to daylight savings or summer time is already known to be much more hard for evening types than for morning types.

The authors believe that being an owl or a lark is a combination of genetics and environment, and so, "You're not doomed", according to Knutson. Keeping regular bedtimes, a healthy lifestyle and trying to do tasks earlier in the day can help to reset circadian rhythms.

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. 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.

Staying up late night after night can come back to hurt you.

The researchers say that employers should adapt work schedules to fit the body clocks of people who struggle to get up in the morning.

Another factor that makes things rough on night owls is Daylight Saving Time, von Schantz said in the release.