“Night owls”: the later you go to bed, the sooner you die

“Night owls”: the later you go to bed, the sooner you die

Researchers advise employers to show some mercy to enthusiasts of nightlife and to adapt the work schedule to meet their needs.

Those, who use to sit up late working, watching TV series or reading books, shall really think about changing their habitual lifestyle. Researchers at University of Surrey (the UK) and Northwestern University (the USA) published an article in Chronobiology International, where they reported that those, who go to bed late, have 10% higher risk of dying than “early birds”.

To determine the relationship between peoples’ chronotypes and their longevity, authors of the study have analyzed data of 433.2 thousand adults aged 38-73 at the time of enrolment and an average 6.5-year follow-up.

Those, who go to bed late, have 10% higher risk of dying than “early birds”

“Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies,” – co-lead author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said.

Previous studies in this field have focused on the higher rates of metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease among nightlife enthusiasts. The study conducted by American-British researchers, became the first one devoted to the relationship between chronotype and mortality.

«Совы» в опасности: ложишься позже – умрешь раньше «Сови» в небезпеці: лягаєш пізніше – помреш раніше

In addition to the fact that “night owls” die earlier and more often than “early birds”, researchers have also found that those, who go to bed late, have higher rates of diabetes, psychological disorders and neurological disorders. Moreover, the relationship between chronotype and mental disabilities was discovered – “night owls” are twice more likely to suffer from such health problems.

Malcolm von Schantz, co-author of the study and professor of chronobiology at the University of Surrey, reported that this is a public health issue that could no longer be ignored.

“We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical, – Mr. Schantz said. –  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.”

According to Knutson, health problems of “night owls” reside in bad habits inasmuch as persons are sitting alone in the darkness instead of sleeping.

“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. There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviors related to being up late in the dark by yourself,” – Mr. Knutson said.

«Совы» в опасности: ложишься позже – умрешь раньше «Сови» в небезпеці: лягаєш пізніше – помреш раніше

However, researchers urge “night owls” not to be discouraged. It has been affirmed that you are in position to adjust your sleep-wakefulness regimen.

“You are not doomed. Part of it you don’t have any control over and part of it you might.” – Kristen Knutson informed. To do that you shall pay close attention to your bedtime, try not to postpone important stuff until evening or night, and fix your sleep/wake cycle.

Authors of the study promise to keep on working in this direction – in particular, Mr. Knutson and his colleagues want to test an intervention with “night owls” to get them to shift their body clocks to adapt to an earlier schedule, which may influence on blood pressure and overall health.



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