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Night owls risk greater chance of developing diabetes

Categories: Current Research

Are you a night owl, an early riser, or somewhere in between? A new study claims people who stay up later, but still get the same amount of sleep, are at a higher risk for developing diabetes. This is due to the fact that staying awake later in the night is likely to cause sleep loss, lower sleep quality, and eating at late hours, which might eventually lead to metabolic change in the person.

Staying up late can have consequences

Apart from risk getting to work late in the morning, staying up late can have other outcomes. Nan Hee Kim, MD, PhD, of Korea University College of Medicine in Ansan, Korea, is quoted as saying “Regardless of lifestyle, people who stayed up late faced a higher risk of developing health problems like diabetes or reduced muscle mass than those who were early risers […] This could be caused by night owls’ tendency to have poorer sleep quality and to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, late-night eating and a sedentary lifestyle.”

Night owls versus early risers

The study examined the difference between night and morning chronotypes, or a person’s natural sleep-wake cycle, examining the sleeping habits and metabolism in 1,620 participants. The participants varied between the ages of 47 and 59. During the process, the researchers took blood samples to assess all the participants’ metabolic health. To get the information, the participants responded to different questions about their sleep-wake cycle, sleep quality and lifestyle habits such as their amount and quality of exercise.

Morning chronotypes dominate

Based on the results gathered from the questions asked by the researchers, 480 participants were classified as morning chronotypes, and 95 were categorized as evening chronotypes. The rest had a classification between the two. Even though the participants with the evening chronotypes tended to be a younger age, they had higher levels of body fat and triglycerides than morning chronotypes. Night owls, or the evening chronotypes, also were more likely to have sarcopenia, which is a condition where the body gradually loses muscle mass.

Does gender matter?

Men who were evening chronotypes were more likely have diabetes or sarcopenia versus the early risers. In regards to women, night owls tended to have more belly fat and a great risk of metabolic syndrome. These results show the facts that being awake at extreme late hours in the night can have an influence on the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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