Night owls 'more likely to die early'

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

It might be killing you, researchers reported Thursday.

People who stay up late at night and struggle to get going in the morning have a 10 percent higher risk of dying early than to those who go to bed earlier and wake up with the son, according to a new study. "Are there specific psychological phenomena that are more or less related to chronotype, especially the disparity between your chronotype preferred timing and the actual timing of sleep?"

The question "Can owls become larks?" was also answered.

There wasn't much difference among people who fell in the middle.

"It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment", Knutson said in a statement.

The study, which looked at more than 430,000 adults in the United Kingdom, found "night owls" had a 10 percent higher risk of dying than "larks".

Malcolm von Schantz, a professor of chronobiology at the University of Surrey, described it as a public health issue that could no longer be ignored.

Dr Kristen Knutson from Northwestern University in Chicago, said: 'Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies.

Just previous year, researchers published a study wherein they linked poor grades to a mismatch in class hours and the students' biological clocks.

The study appears in the journal Chronobiology International. "Make work shifts match peoples" chronotypes.

And the switch to British Summer Time - pushing the clocks an hour forward in the Spring - makes things even worse for late risers, the scientists said.

Those studies support the idea that working against the body's natural inclination can be hazardous to your health.

The research involved almost 500,000 people, aged between 38 and 73, and found that around 9pc considered themselves evening people, while 27pc identified as morning types. After controlling for factors like age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status and sleep duration, the researchers discovered that those who identified as "definite evening types" saw a 10% increased risk of dying during the six and a half follow-up period, compared to those who said they were "definite morning types".

There could be many reasons.

They were also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and coffee, and use illegal drugs.

One interesting idea raised in the paper is the proposal that night owls have a higher morbidity rate due to greater exposure to artificial light and, as a result, lower levels of melatonin. The participants are between 38 to 73-years-old.

But the stress of trying to live against their natures could be at fault, they proposed.

"You're not doomed", Knutson said.

"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", she said.

"We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical".

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