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Why people who prefer to go to bed late are more likely to die early

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Night owls – people who like to go to bed late and get up late – have a 10 per cent higher risk of dying than early birds, a study found.

Research based on 50,000 people in the United Kingdom (UK) found they had the higher chance of death over the six-and-a-half year period they were being studied.

It seems that living in a world geared to early risers damages the health of those who prefer moonlight.

And the switch to British Summer Time – pushing the clocks an hour forward in the Spring – makes things even worse for late risers, the scientists said.

Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said: “Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies.”

Previous studies have found that staying up late has bad effects on the heart and metabolism. But night owls still had a 10 per cent higher risk of death after the effects of health were adjusted for.

Malcolm von Schantz, Professor of Chronobiology at the University of Surrey, said: “This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored. We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical.

And we need more research about how we can help evening types cope with the higher effort of keeping their body clock in synchrony with sun time.


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