‘Night Owls’ at Greater Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes: Study

People who sleep late and have difficulty waking up early are 2.5 times more likely to have type-2 diabetes. 

2 min read
Being a night owl has been associated with a range of health problems.

If you are a night owl or prefer sleeping late at night and are having trouble waking up early, then you are at a higher risk of suffering from heart disease and type-2 diabetes than early risers, according to a recent study.

The study showed that people with an evening preference were 2.5 times more likely to have type-2 diabetes compared to those who are morning larks.

In addition, the former have more erratic eating patterns and take more unhealthy diet, including alcohol, sugars and fast food in comparison with the latter.

They had a lower intake of fruits and vegetables, and higher intake of energy drinks, alcoholic, sugary and caffeinated beverages, as well as higher energy intake from fat, said Leonidas G. Karagounis, researcher from Nestle Health Science.

According to Suzana Almoosawi, research candidate from Northumbria University in the UK,

In teenagers, we also find that evening chronotype is related to more erratic eating behaviour and poorer diet. This could have important implications to health in adulthood as most dietary habits are established in adolescence.

Eating late in the day was also found to be linked to an increased risk of type-2 diabetes because the circadian rhythm influences the way glucose is metabolised in the body, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

Glucose levels should naturally decline throughout the day and reach their lowest point at night.

However, as night owls often eat shortly before bed, their glucose levels are increased when they are about to sleep, which could negatively affect metabolism as their bodies do not follow the normal biological process.

The researchers also found evidence that night owls would accumulate ‘sleep debt’ during the working week and would sleep longer at weekends to compensate for this, whereas early birds had smaller differences in their sleeping patterns across the week.

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