Just as eating the right food, getting involved in exercise activities, and all other practices that improve the health of human is important, so is getting enough sleep at the right time.
In Night owls have 10% higher mortality risk, study says, Mark Lieber, CNN, has compared Night owls, also known as the “definite evening types” with “definite morning types”.
Night owls have the tendency to suffer from several health problems and they are likely to have worse health profiles. Contrasted by the “definite morning types”, a research carried in the United Kingdom by chronobiology international, found that those who are “definite night types” have 10% increased the risk of all-cause mortally.
Kristen Knutson, an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and a leading author of the study, stated night owls are more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, neurological disorders and respiratory disorders. This research also shows that night owls are more likely to develop certain types of cancer such as breast and prostate cancer, as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Jamie Zeltzer, an associate professor of psychiatry, behavioral science and sleep medicine at Standard School of Medicine, who was not part of the research mentioned: “this is one piece of the puzzle”. “The finding for mortality actually weren’t as robust as I would have hoped. I think they would have had stronger results if, instead of just looking at chronotype, they had looked at chronotype alignment: So, are people going to bed at their correct time?” Zeitzer added. In addition, he added that the overall mortality, being a night owl is associated with numbers of other health problems such as respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, and psychological disorders. Though, psychological disorders has the strongest association.
“It’s interesting,” Zeitzer said. “And it would definitely take some follow-up to see what that means. Is that depression? Is that anxiety? 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?”
DECREASED SLEEP COULD LEAD TO DEPRESSION!
A study in 2014 showed that those who stay up late have less brain white matter (nerve projection that relay and coordinate communications between different areas of the nervous system) in certain areas of the brain, which is associated with depression.
A person’s chronotype is probably a mixture of inherited or environmental factors. “Whether or not you’re a night owl is partly determined by your genes, which obviously you can’t change, but it’s not entirely a given,” Knutson said.
Knutson and Zeltzer proposed some strategies that could help Night Owls switch to earlier bedtimes and also on how to cope in the society. Knutson said “I want to emphasize the gradual aspect. You can’t suddenly just go to bed three hours earlier, tonight. It’s not going to work.”
Finding a job that is consistent with your biological clock or jobs that have flexible hours could be a solution. With flexible work hours, Night owls would have later work schedules that align with their biological timing. Hence, they will be productive and have improved health. Knutson added, “Employers should recognize that some of their employees are going to be morning types and some are going to be evening types.”
The research samples are mainly Caucasians, meaning that the result cannot be generalized to the demographics. Though it has a large number of sample with over 500 thousand, yet it is ethnic-based of the English descent. More also, chronotype was also measured based on self-reports rather than objective measures, one of the study’s main limitations, according to Knutson.
It’s as though night owls are the worst set of people in the society, but this is not true. Night owls tend to play some major role in society, most especially doing jobs that require one to stay up all night. More also, this is not a critic of the night owls but an enlightenment towards the dangers surrounding their nature and how they can make changes for positive results.