Physicians study sleep habits and their effects
Some people like to stay awake for a long time at night and usually have problems getting up early. Researchers now found that so-called night people die earlier, compared to people with normal sleep habits.
The researchers from the University of Surrey and Northwestern University in the US have found in their recent research that nighttime long-term residents have a lower life expectancy. The physicians published the results of their study in the English-language journal “Chronobiology International”.
Risk of dying prematurely increased by 10 percent in the case of night people
If people like to stay awake at night and generally go to bed late, it increases the likelihood of ten percent that those affected die prematurely within the study period of six and a half years, the study authors explain.
The ongoing stress in today’s society has a huge impact on millions of people. As a result, the life expectancy of those affected is reduced. Stress is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored, says Professor Malcolm von Schantz of the University of Surrey.
It should be discussed whether so-called night people flexible working hours are possible, where they can appear later to their work, suggest the doctors. In addition, further research is needed to find out how those affected can be helped to synchronize their body clock with the time of the sun, the scientists explain. Night people have a lot of problems with normal working hours, and the resulting stress could be detrimental to their health.
For their study, the researchers studied nearly 500,000 Britons between the ages of 38 and 73 years. In this study, about nine percent of the participants were considered night people, while 27 percent were classified as morning people. For the UK as a whole, this means that around 5.8 million people are at an increased risk of premature death because their internal clock is not in harmony with the environment, the researchers explain. Previous studies in this area have already focused on the higher rates of metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease, but this is the first mortality risk assessment.
It could be that at night long-lasting people have an internal biological clock that does not match their external environment, Dr. Kristen Knutson from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. For example, the reasons why people go to bed late at night may be psychological stress, inappropriate meal times, inadequate physical activity, drugs, and alcohol consumption. There are a number of unhealthy behaviors associated with going to bed late at night, the doctor adds.
Night people have increased rates of diabetes, mental disorders, and neurological disorders. Whether humans are early risers or night people depends partly on genetic reasons and half on the environment. This means that there could be ways to control problems with the inner body clock. The research team recommends night people to help themselves by trying to face the light early in the morning rather than at night. Regular bedtime, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and trying to complete tasks earlier in the day can help reset the daily rhythm, explain the physicians.
Future studies will examine interventions on night people, causing them to change their body clock and adjust to a previous schedule. Then it will show if the blood pressure and the general health can be improved. For example, night people should not be forced to get up at eight in the morning. It should be ensured that working shifts correspond to people’s chronotypes. For some people, it might be better to work in the night shift.