May 21, 2024

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Why do night owls die earlier than rise early?

Why do night owls die earlier than rise early?

Early morning: The internal clock determines who is particularly fit at what time of day.Collection:

Late risers and late risers have a shorter lifespan than morning people. But it has nothing to do with how long you sleep.

Written article


In popular sleep medicine, a distinction is often made between larks and owls—that is, between early risers and night people. Although not everyone can be clearly assigned to one type or another: our biorhythm follows its own internal clock, which is difficult to get out of sync.

Now a Finnish study shows that the night owl chronotype has a nine percent increased risk of early death. So is staying up late at night dangerous?

To find the answer, researchers analyzed data from a large-scale twin study. Between 1981 and 2018, nearly 23,000 men and women were observed as part of this. Initially, participants were asked whether they saw themselves “fully” or “reversely” as an early riser or a night person.

Based on just 8,700 deaths, the researchers analyzed the proportions of each group. It turns out that night owls are more at risk of death.

Researchers have now taken into account other parameters such as body mass index, actual sleep duration and alcohol, drug and tobacco consumption. And precisely in the latter there were abnormalities.

Night owls tend to be younger and consume more alcohol and other things Medicines: “There is a reciprocal relationship between the reward system and the 24-hour biorhythm (body clock, editor’s note), as well as the amount of alcohol and substance consumption, and the need to stay awake longer at night, i.e., in the evening. .”

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Translated: The reason their increased risk of death was not because people were awake more at night. The authors clarify: “Our results suggest that chronology makes little or no independent contribution to mortality.”

Conversely, activities during these waking hours increased their risk of death. Evening habits like drinking and smoking contributed to shortening their lifespans. If they fail to do so, owls will die no sooner than larks.

Sources used:

  • Chronobiology International: “Chronotype and mortality – a 37-year follow-up study in Finnish adults” (15. June 2023, English)

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