I can attest to the fact that not everyone is a morning person. Personally, not only am I not a morning person (although I don’t sleep the day away- I’ve got too much to do!) but I’m a night owl. While that’s partly part of the job, it’s also when I do a lot of my best work. But, I’ve been trying to cut my hours at night and get to bed earlier. And according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the UK, being a morning person might just correlate to a longer lifespan.
“The study, which is being published in Chronobiology International, is based on the lives of nearly half a million volunteers who were tracked over a period of six-and-a-half years. Over that lengthy sample period, night owls were approximately 10 percent more likely to die than their early-rising peers. That’s a significant difference, and it’s being attributed to late-night lifestyles that rob people of precious sleep.”1
While researchers weren’t able to pin down why night owls seem to naturally stay up later, they did note that factors like stress, lack of exercise and diet could play a role. They also pointed out that for those who thrive late at night, even making an effort to go to sleep a little bit earlier, could curb their heightened risk of mortality.
The truth is that chronic sleep deprivation (even just the inability to get to sleep and stay asleep) has become a public health issue. This study, the first of its kind to look at the mortality implications of individuals based on their habits of either rising early or staying up late2, is long overdue.
In the future, the team hopes to be able to test the health of night owls before and after they make the change to becoming early risers to see what kind of changes are possible.
Are you a night owl? Would you consider making a change?