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Study: Night Owls Have An Increased Risk Of Mortality

Are you a morning or a night person? Would you define yourself as an early bird or night owl? If you picked the latter, you may want to read on: a recent study revealed that those who stay up later at nights have increased chances of psychological issues, diabetes, and dying.

The research team followed close to 500,000 UK adults over the period of six-and-a-half years. They revealed that people who were night owls had a ten percent increased risk of all-cause mortality, versus those early bird (that like to catch the worm).

CNN reported that the lead author of the study, Kristen Knutson, stated that night owls were likelier to develop neurological or psychological disorders, gastrointestinal conditions, diabetes, as well as respiratory issues.

The team reviewed figures via the UK Biobank; a cohort research project launched between 2006 to 2010 that dove into risk factors around major diseases in males and females that spanned 37 to 73 years old. Approximately 10,000 of the 433,268 participants within this study passed away during the follow-up period after the six-and-half-year point. Once controlling factors were evaluated (i.e. body mass index, age, whether or not they were smokers, sex, ethnicity, and sleep), the team discovered that the self-labelled ‘night owls’ had a ten percent increased risk of dying during that follow up, versus the self-identified ‘early birds’.

Additionally, the night owls were linked with a variety of health issues, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, and psychological conditions.

While the research did not investigate the causes around death, past studies have indicated that night owls tend to develop certain types of cancers (e.g. breast and prostate), as well as cardiovascular conditions. In fact, a 2014 research study revealed that people who stayed up late at nights have decreased white matter within specific areas of their brain that is linked to depression.

Knutson stated that being a night owl versus an early bird is most likely determined by a mix of one’s genetics and environment.

One great tip to help battle staying up late and changing that ‘night owl’ lifestyle, as per Knutson, is avoiding technology before bed. She emphasizes a gradual process when advancing bedtimes, and nothing should be done in a ‘sudden’ fashion.

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