Who Lives Longer — Night Owls or Early Birds?

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — “Night owls” might pay a price when it comes to their health and longevity, a new study reports.

Folks who stay up late and struggle to wake in the morning have a 10 percent higher risk of dying sooner than so-called “morning larks” who are early to bed and early to rise, said lead researcher Kristin Knutson. She’s an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“It is important for people who are night owls to learn there may be health consequences, but there may be things they can do to help overcome those problems,” Knutson said. “There’s hope, but it may take some effort.”

This finding is based on a study of more than 433,000 British adults. As part of the study, they were asked to place themselves into one of four categories — definite morning or evening types, or moderate morning or evening types.

“For morning lark types, the clock is set to have things happen earlier in the day — go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier, eat earlier,” Knutson said. “And then, of course, the reverse is true for night owls.”

About a quarter of folks identified themselves as morning larks, and about 9 percent said they were definitely night owls, Knutson said.

The researchers then tracked the health of all participants for 6.5 years, to see whether sleeping patterns were associated with an increased risk of death and illness.

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