Being a night owl increases your risk of heart disease, study says 1 year ago

Being a night owl increases your risk of heart disease, study says

The early bird catches the worm - or at least according to science

For some time, people have debated whether being an early bird or a night owl has a distinct impact on your health.

Now, you have answers.

Northumbria University compiled evidence from 17 studies and found night owls have a greater risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

One particular study discovered being a night owl makes you 2.5 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes.

The review was published in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

Why the link?

Researchers believe being a night owl is more likely to lead to health problems for a number of reasons.

Those who go to bed much later tend to follow unhealthier diets, containing more beer, sugar and junk food than those who rise early. Eating patterns also pose a risk.

Night owls are more likely to eat an inconsistent diet, regularly missing meals such as breakfast. When compared to what an early riser would typically eat, the 'night owl' diet is also lower in fibre, wholegrains and vegetables.

These foods help digest food and also contain many micronutrients which fend off disease. Early risers tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.

One of the study's lead authors, Dr Suzana Almoosawi, said:

"In adulthood, being an evening chronotype [night owl] is associated with greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and this may be potentially due to the poorer eating behaviour and diet of people with evening chronotype."

How can you improve your sleep?

You may not be able to change your personality traits, but you can certainly boost the quality of sleep you get.

Dimmed lights: The review found unnatural light can wreak havoc with your circadian rhythm, your body's natural sleep cycle. Using dimmed lights at home can reduce the disruption normal house lights bring.

Sleep environment: How tidy your bedroom is actually impacts quite heavily on the level of sleep you get. Your room needs to be quiet, with no TV or electronic devices switched on. Research also shows the ideal sleep temperature to be 18°C.