Night owls have been found to be more likely to die young, develop psychological conditions, and suffer from diabetes when compared to their early bird counterparts.
A study that involved 433,268 adults and covered a time period of six and a half years has found a direct link between early mortality and being a "night owl" –staying up routinely late at night and sleeping during the day.
The participants were asked to categorize themselves based on what kind of person they are. The options presented were- "definitely a morning person" (early birds); "more a morning person than evening person"; "more an evening than a morning person"; or "definitely an evening person (night owls)." Each participant chose one of the four categories.
By the time the study ended, over 10,000 participants had died, reports Popular Mechanics. With this data, researchers were able to find that those who thought of themselves as evening people are 10 percent more likely to die early than the early risers.
"Previous work has shown that people who are evening types — are night owls — tend to have worse health profiles, including things like diabetes and heart disease," Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and one of the authors of the study, said in a press release, "But this is really the first study to look at mortality."
Apart from the increased risk of early death, night owls were also shown to be susceptible to mental illnesses. Findings suggest that they were nearly twice as likely to show signs of psychological illness when compared to the "definitely morning person" type.
"What we think might be happening is, there's a problem for the night owl who's trying to live in the morning lark world," Knutson said. "This mismatch between their internal clock and their external world could lead to problems for their health over the long run, especially if their schedule is irregular."
People who do not have regular sleeping habits and spend their nights awake and spend their days in a sleepy stupor were also found to be more likely to contract diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological disorders, and respiratory disorders. Also, staying up at night on the regular can cause weight gain.
Getting to bed early is simply an overall better, healthier option.
This study was first published in Chronobiology International.