Being a night owl might not help your health

 
By Doug Bennett • Published: July 17th, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Night owls might enjoy the hours they keep, but it’s not helping their health. According to a recent study, staying up too late creates a greater risk for diabetes and other health problems.

After studying the habits of sixteen-hundred middle-age men and women, Korean researchers found that men who were night owls were significantly more likely to have diabetes than those who went to sleep early. Women who stay up late were twice as likely to have high blood sugar and more fat around the waist than their early-bird counterparts.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Although the night owls were typically among the younger people in the study, the researchers found they had the worst health habits and health prognosis. Those who stayed up late were one-point-seven times more likely to have diabetes and metabolic problems like high blood sugar. They were also three times more likely to have muscle loss than those who turn in early.

And catching up on shut-eye by sleeping in didn’t help. The health risks stayed the same for night owls, even if they ultimately slept the same number of hours per week as the other people in the study.

According to the study, the late-to-bed set was also more likely to have poor sleep quality and engage in unhealthy behaviors like late-night eating and not exercising. Genetics, age, and gender play a big role in regulating our biological clocks, but exercise and good eating habits are also important. Experts say limiting your exposure to bright lights — including computer and cell phone screens — can also help the body wind down for the night.

Early to bed and early to rise might take some discipline … but you’re likely to sleep better and stay healthier.