People who fall asleep late and have problems waking up in the morning are more exposed to premature death in comparison to those who get to bed early and get up early, according to a British study. Surveying almost 500,000 people aged 38 to 73 for 6.5 years, researchers found 50,000 "night owls" were more likely to die than their "lark" counterparts even after adjusting for expected health problems, which included higher rates of diabetes, as well as psychological and neurological disorders. They asked more than 433,000 participants between ages 38 and 73 years if they are a "definite morning type" a "moderate morning type" a "moderate evening type" or a "definite evening type".
The study followed nearly half a million adults in the United Kingdom over an average of 6½ years.
Young people tend to naturally be night owls, something that can shift throughout life.
"Understanding the link between chronotype and mortality could lead to the development of additional behavioural strategies to mitigate risk associated with being an evening type. There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviours related to being up late in the dark by yourself", she added.
"We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical". "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".
"The mismatch between their internal biological clock and their behavior and environment is problematic, especially in the long run", Knutson said.
- Doing things earlier and being less of an evening person as much as you can. Zeitzer, who was not involved in this study, said that "the findings for the mortality actually weren't as robust as I would have hoped".
The study says that night owls are about twice as likely to develop a psych disorder, 30 percent more likely to have diabetes, 23 percent higher risk of respiratory diseases and 22 percent higher for gastrointestinal diseases. He also argued that the study is heavily based on findings from white Britons.
Some strategies known to help people trying to switch to an earlier schedule include gradually advancing your bedtime and avoiding the use of technology at night, according to Knutson.
"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". This was in comparison with the people identifying as "definite morning types". Part of it you don't have any control over and part 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.