Night owls who rise early risk dying younger: Study

PARIS: People who stay up late and have to drag themselves out of bed are likelier to die younger than those who rise with the sun, researchers said yesterday.

A survey of more than 430,000 people in Britain found that "night owls" had a 10 per cent higher risk of dying in the 61/2-year study period than "larks".

"This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored," said study co-author Malcolm von Schantz of the University of Surrey - and argued that "night types" should be allowed to start and finish work later in the day.

"Night owls trying to live in a morning-lark world may (suffer) health consequences," said fellow author Kristen Knutson of the Northwestern University in Chicago.

The duo gathered information on people aged 38 to 73 from a public database.

Participants defined themselves as a "morning" or "evening" person and listed their weight, smoking habits, and socioeconomic status.

Deaths in the group - over 10,500 - were documented .

The night-owl group, the team found, had a 10 per cent higher risk of dying than those in the early-morning group.

People in the late-night group were more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, diabetes and stomach and breathing troubles, and slept fewer hours a night.

They were also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and coffee, and use illegal drugs.

The higher risk may be because "people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment," Associate Professor Knutson said.

The research duo urged special treatment for night owls.

"Jobs and work hours could have more flexibility for owls," she said.

"They shouldn't be forced to get up for an 8am shift." - AFP