Staying up late could be killing you

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

He suggested a few ways society could help night owls. According to a study, if you are a "night owl", or like to stay up late and have trouble dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, you are at a higher risk of dying sooner than morning "larks", people who have a natural preference for going to bed early and rising with the Sun.

Moreover, evening people were at a higher risk for conditions like diabetes, psychological and neurological disorders - plus certain types of respiratory and gastrointestinal/abdominal issues.

Fellow author Kristen Knutson of the Northwestern University in Chicago said: "Night owls trying to live in a morning-lark world may (suffer) health consequences".

Owls may have a body clock that fails to match their external environment, said Dr Knutson.

"These findings suggest the need for researching interventions aimed at allowing evening types greater working flexibility", the researchers said.

The researchers relied on information provided by the UK Biobank, a cohort study between 2006 and 2010, which aim to identify the risk factors for women between the age of 37 and 73.

The participants had defined themselves as either "definitely a morning person" (27 per cent), "more a morning person than evening person" (35 per cent), "more an evening than a morning person" (28 per cent), or "definitely an evening person" (nine per cent). Three scientists who study the body's internal clock won the Nobel Prize in Medicine previous year. You should also work to get in bed earlier, Knutson said, and try to run errands closer to the beginning of the day if possible.

After controlling for factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status and sleep duration, the researchers found that those who identified as "definite evening types" had a 10% increased risk of dying during the follow-up period compared with those who identified as "definite morning types". Many of these effects may be attributable to a misalignment between a person's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, and the socially imposed timing of work and other activities, the researchers said.

The researchers tracked 500,000 British people over six years, and corrected their figures for common problems suffered by night owls such as heart disease.

Although the researchers controlled for ethnicity, almost 94% of the participants identified as Caucasian, meaning the results may not be generalizable to other demographics, according to Zeitzer.

This is an incredibly large group of people to study and this is the first time a population has been studied with the intention of assessing how chronotype affects mortality from the start. He also argued that the study is heavily based on findings from white Britons. "There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviors related to being up late in the dark by yourself".

They also say that once a person is on a regular schedule it's important to maintain that schedule even on weekends and vacations.

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