Early Bird v Night Owl

Night_Owl_LogoAre you an early bird or a night owl? Your answer may determine how healthy you are and how long you live! A recent study indicates that night owls have a higher risk of dying sooner than people who go to bed and rise early.

From ScienceDaily.com:

Night owls” — people who like to stay up late and have trouble dragging themselves out of bed in the morning — have a higher risk of dying sooner than “larks,” people who have a natural preference for going to bed early and rise with the sun, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom (UK).

The study, on nearly half a million participants in the UK Biobank Study, found owls have a 10 percent higher risk of dying than larks. In the study sample, 50,000 people were more likely to die in the 6½ -year period sampled.

“Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies,” said co-lead author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

According to CNN.com, Ms. Knutson said night owls were “more likely to have diabetes, neurological disorders, psychological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory disorders.”

“This mismatch between their internal clock and their external world could lead to problems for their health over the long run, especially if their schedule is irregular. Previous work has shown that people who are evening types — are night owls — tend to have worse health profiles, including things like diabetes and heart disease,” Knutson added. “But this is really the first study to look at mortality.”
CBS News put together a short video on the characteristics of early risers and night owls.  You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.
Forbes.com asked the question you may be asking yourself right now. Can owls transform into larks? Well, researchers believe you don’t have control over some of it, but some of it…..you might.
You can make changes in your daily routines to reduce your mortality risk. One simple way is to make sure you that you are exposed to sunlight early in the day, and avoiding any artificial screen light (blue light) from smartphones and tablets at nighttime. It also is important to adhere to a regular bedtime and avoid staying up late. Overall, it helps to get more things done earlier in the day, and less at evening or night, so your body feels ready to sleep at the right time.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this new study. Are you an early riser or a night owl? Tell us about it. Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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