Definitive night owls had nearly double the risk of suffering from psychological disorders, about a 30% increased risk for diabetes, a 25% increased risk for neurological conditions, 23% increased risk for gastrointestinal disorders, and a 22% increased risk for respiratory disorders. Part of it you don't have any control over and part you might.
Some bad news for those who like to stay up late.
Jamie Zeitzer, an associate psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford who was not involved with the study, told CNN that these results are "just one piece of the puzzle", Zeitzer told the outlet that she hoped the findings would have been more robust, and asked the question "So, are people going to be at their correct time?"
"I think the problem arises because a night owl is trying to live in a morning lark world", Knutson said.
The participants had defined themselves as either "definitely a morning person" (27 percent), "more a morning person than evening person" (35 percent), "more an evening than a morning person" (28 percent), or "definitely an evening person" (9 percent).
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If the early bird catches the worm, what is the night owl more likely to catch?
The researchers looked at surveys of more than 400,000 people taking part in a large British study of genes and health.
"What we found is that the night owls, the definite evening types, were the ones that were at increased risk of mortality compared to the definite morning types - and the middle groups really weren't", she said. "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". Getting too little sleep is also known to have negative health effects, but the new study found little difference between the self-reported sleep of morning people and that of evening people, the researchers said.
For those who still struggle with mornings, finding a job that has flexible hours or hours more consistent with your biological clock could be a solution.
The researchers said that genetics and environment contribute to a person being a morning or a night person, which means that night owls can work their way to becoming morning larks.
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That will be up to future research to find out, the scientists said. They sorted people by whether they were definite morning types (aka "morning larks"), definite evening types, moderate morning types or moderate evening types.
"It's limited because of that", he said. Generally, if people prefer to go to bed later and wake up later on days they don't have to work, they're probably suffering from at least some degree of social jetlag. Their work, done over decades, helps explain how life adapts to the 24-hour cycle of day, and also how diseases such as cancer arise in the cells.
They also say that once a person is on a regular schedule it's important to maintain that schedule even on weekends and vacations.
Being a night owl was associated with psychological stress, eating at the wrong time, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and drug or alcohol use.
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