Night owls may be at greater risk of disease

New research has found that being a night owl can have a negative impact on your health. The findings of a major new study, reported in Advances in Nutrition, has revealed that night owls may be at a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes than early birds.

It is thought that those who have a preference for late nights are more likely to suffer from ill health as a result of more erratic eating patterns and consuming more unhealthy food. Human bodies run on a 24-hour cycle dictated by our internal clock, called a circadian rhythm, which tells us when to wake, eat and sleep. It is this internal clock that dictates whether we are night owls or early birds. Those who stay up late were shown to consume more alcohol, sugar, caffeine and fast food, as well as eating at more erratic times and skipping breakfast. As a result, the study found that being a night owl had links to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

It was also discovered that those with a night time preference were more likely to build up a sleep debt over the course of the week, which they would compensate for by over-sleeping at weekends, which may in fact do more harm than good.