Are you a night owl? You may be at risk of dying earlier, according to research
08/03/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

A night owl, a person who likes to stay up late and finds it hard to get out of bed in the morning, has long been known to have a greater risk of developing diabetes and depression than early birds, or those who go to bed early and have no problem waking up in the morning. In addition to these health problems, night owls may be at risk of dying earlier, according to a study published in the journal Chronobiology International.

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the University of Surrey in the U.K. looked at the link between a person's natural inclination toward mornings or evenings and their risk of mortality. They asked 433,368 participants, age 38 to 73 years, in the U.K. Biobank Study if they are a "definite morning type," a "moderate morning type," a "moderate evening type," or a "definite evening type." Then, the researchers monitored deaths in the sample over six and a half years.

Based on their findings, night owls died 10 percent faster than early birds. Even after considering other expected health problems in night owls, the results remained the same. The findings also revealed that night owls had higher rates of diabetes, mental disorders, and neurological problems. (Related: Night owls at increased risk for dark personality traits, illness and depression.)

Night owls trying to live a morning life are putting their life at risk. Your body clock times your life and everything you do is affected by it. Waking up early in the morning while being active at night is hard, and doing it for a long period of time may take a toll on the body.


Many environmental factors affect body clocks; however, most night owls are born that way instead of being influenced by outside factors.

A guide to better sleep for night owls

The habit of staying up late at night and waking up close to noon is most common among adolescents because of temporary hormonal changes, or they are just simply born that way. Still, there are ways for night owls to be well-rested.

  • Get enough sleep. The average person needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep to avoid fatigue. However, this may be difficult because of work or school. If you can't change your sleep habits or schedule classes or work in later hours, taking short naps may be the solution to catch up on rest.
  • Keep a regular schedule. Having regular sleep and wake times is helpful for the body and helps prevent sleep problems such as insomnia. In addition, irregular hours and inadequate sleep may even contribute to unwanted weight gain. It's best to follow your schedule even during the weekends or your days off.
  • Know when and how to shut down. Destressing, tuning out, and setting boundaries can be helpful for keeping sleep on track. There are several relaxation techniques you can try to reduce stress and insomnia. You can also set boundaries between sleep and work, emails or texts; establishing a pre-bed routine; and overcoming negative thoughts. Taking a warm bath one to two hours before you sleep may also help because the temperature drop from warm to cool stimulates drowsiness.
  • Use light properly. Using light can help night owls adjust. Light can influence mood, energy, and immunity. It's also the primary factor for resetting internal clocks. Get exposed to light early in the morning, and dim the lights at night. It's best to turn off your TV, laptop, and phone before you sleep to avoid distractions. Then, stick to your regular sleep schedule without letting yourself drift to later bedtimes.
  • Exercise regularly. Having a healthy lifestyle, such as regular physical activity, is also important in resetting the internal body clock. Just don't work out too close to your bedtime.

Learn more about preventing diseases with proper sleep by going to

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