Those who prefer staying up late are known as “night owls.” A late-night bedtime may be hazardous to your health, for which reasons are listed below.
Increased Heart Rate
Dr. Andrew Varga is an assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He has found that night owls have a higher chance of developing hypertension than those who get to bed earlier.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, this illness occurs when BP is high and pushes against the arterial walls.
The increased risk of hypertension experienced by night owls may be attributable to some undesirable lifestyle choices. It can include an unhealthy diet and insufficient physical activity. Stress, both physical and mental, may also play a significant influence.
Not as Likely to Exercise
A study was published in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in April 2022. The authors analyzed the correlation between kids’ and teens’ bedtimes and several health metrics.
They discovered a correlation between late bedtimes and increased inactivity rates.
According to most fitness experts, the optimal time of day to exercise varies from person to person. However, there are benefits to waking up early and exercising before work.
If you work out first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to keep up the good health habits you’ve established. You will even see some weight loss results.
A study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Obesity found that exercising before 3 p.m. resulted in “substantially more weight loss” than exercising after midday.
Could Cause Weight Gain
According to Dr. Varga, when individuals go to bed late, they enjoy their lives, and one of those activities is eating.
It has been shown that eating late at night (between 11 p.m. and midnight) can disrupt your body’s ability to process and metabolize food, so if you go to bed at 3, you may want to rethink your eating habits.
Eating late at night prevents the body from going through its fasting period, preventing it from burning fat.
Consumption of calories can be higher for night owls, perhaps because we have less self-control when sleepy and more of a penchant for unhealthy snacks.
Potentially Greater Chance of Developing Diabetes
Even more so for night owls, type 2 diabetes is dangerous. Night owls had “a much-increased risk of diabetes and other diseases,” according to a meta-analysis published in Advances in Nutrition in January 2022.
People who aren’t “early to bed, early to wake” are more likely to receive less sleep overall than those who are.
If you don’t get to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning but have to be at work by 9:00, you won’t get as much quality sleep as you need.
Night owls who work during the week sometimes try to make up for their sleep deficit by sleeping in later on the weekends.
Not only is it difficult to make up for this “sleep debt. But adjusting your sleep schedule on the weekend may also harm your health.
Low Mood and Depression
Problems with your mood are more likely to arise if you’re a night owl. In a study published in March 2021 in Biomolecules, researchers found that those who are most alert in the evening are “predisposed” to diseases. These diseases included mood disorders and personality abnormalities, and some others.
Scientists have speculated that night owls may have more trouble controlling their emotions.
A study published in 2017 in the Journal of Biological Rhythms discovered that night owls are less likely to engage in cognitive reappraisal.
Night Owls: Their Talents and Accomplishments
Dr. Knutson explained that although your genes may fix your chronotype, that doesn’t mean you can’t alter it.
“Roughly half can be attributed to your genes, while the other half can be modified. However, it is difficult to maintain your schedule’s attentiveness and regularity.”
(Don’t try to force it; you’ll end up lying awake for hours if you do.) Avoiding blue light at night and maintaining a regular wake-up time are also recommended.
Dr. Varga suggests waking up to bright light to retrain your brain to get up and sleep more quickly. If you need help adjusting your internal clock, your doctor may recommend taking melatonin. It is a synthetic form of the sleep-inducing hormone your brain produces.
Can the health concerns of being a night owl be mitigated by changing one’s innate chronotype? Dr. Knutson acknowledged, “We don’t know the answer yet, and that’s where the research needs to go next.” Night owls, in my opinion, should put extra effort into maintaining a healthy lifestyle because it appears they are more susceptible to the adverse effects of a less healthy lifestyle.