Are you a morning person or a night owl? If you think that this is a simple preference you should know that a new study indicated that it could suggest more than you think. The researchers discovered that people who stay up late at night have a higher risk of death, compared to those who do not.
The study analyzed around half a million adults in the United Kingdom and it lasted for six years. It appears that lack of sleep was not the problem. The ones who went to bed later at night got just as much sleep.
Researchers believe that a strange bedtime hour could harm the circadian imbalance and it might create “social jet lag”, which means that your body will be out of loop compared to the rest of the world. “If you’re not doing [activities] at the time that your body is expecting, that can lead to this circadian misalignment — that your internal clock and the external world do not agree about what time it is,” said Kristen Knutson, a sleep researcher at Chicago’s Northwestern University.
The researchers also observed that those who are “evening chronotypes” are more likely to engage in unhealthy activities, such as drinking or drug use. However, this is not the real danger. It appears that the “mismatch between their internal system and the external world and the irregularity in their schedule” is the real issue.
Experimenting with the circadian rhythms
The study also did some experiments that interrupted the circadian rhythms of people on purpose, and researchers observed that this led to clear biochemical responses, including increased inflammation, decreased insulin sensitivity and increased blood pressure, which are all factors that could lead to a disease and harm the body.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.