Night owls have 10% higher mortality risk, study says

Research based on 500,000 people found they had a higher chance of death over the six-and-a-half year period they were being studied

Research based on 500,000 people found they had a higher chance of death over the six-and-a-half year period they were being studied

According to a new study, it's diabetes, psychological problems and an increased risk of dying.

A recent research conducted in Britain found that people that stay up late have a 10 percent higher risk of dying. However, this is the first such study to also look at the risk of mortality among those people. "Approximately, 27 percent identified as definite morning types, 35 percent as moderate morning types, 28 percent as moderate evening types and 9 percent as definite evening types", they wrote.

Out of the 10,500 deaths recorded in the participants, 2,127 had cardiovascular causes.

Prof Malcolm von Schantz, at the Guildford university, said: "This is a public health issue".

Society should wake up to the real difficulties faced by night owls, said the researchers.

Study co-author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University, said this likely happens because "night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies".

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Also, researchers argued that, usually, late risers are having harmful habits, such as sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy diets.

Evening people were at greater risk for certain health conditions, including diabetes, psychological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological disorders and respiratory conditions, the study found. Teenagers tend to naturally have later chronotypes (body clocks shift throughout life and most teens are night owls), and a growing body of research has shown that shifting school start times later improves school performance.

The study couldn't determine the reason for the link between being a night owl and the risk of early death.

'And we have to remember that even a small additional risk is multiplied by more than 1.3 billion people who experience this shift every year. "This mismatch between their internal clock and their external world could lead to problems for their health over the long run, especially if their schedule is irregular". A six-and-a-half-year study on the sleep habits of nearly half a million people in the United Kingdom suggests that night owls are at a higher risk of early death than morning people.

"If you can recognise these (types) are, in part, genetically determined and not just a character flaw, jobs and work hours could have more flexibility for owls", Knutson said. "Part of it you don't have any control over and part of it you might". "They want to be up late but they have to be up early for work and so the time that they're doing things, like waking up or eating, is not at the correct time for them".

The researchers' next project is to see if night owls are able to shift their body clocks to adapt to an earlier schedule - to see if there are improvements in blood pressure and overall heatlh. They sorted people by whether they were definite morning types (aka "morning larks"), definite evening types, moderate morning types or moderate evening types.

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