Night owls at higher risk for diabetes, new study shows

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Are you someone who likes to stay up late and wake up late? If yes, a new study says you might want to reconsider your sleeping habits.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health have found that “night owls” are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The study looked at over 60,000 nurses and their lifestyles to reach this conclusion.

The Basics of the Study

In science-speak, a “chronotype” is basically your body’s natural preference for when you like to be awake or asleep. Some people are morning people, while others are night owls.

The researchers wanted to find out if there was any connection between being a night owl and getting diabetes.

They looked at data from 63,676 female nurses who had been part of a long-term health study from 2009 to 2017.

The nurses answered questions about their eating habits, how much they weigh, their Body Mass Index (BMI), how much sleep they get, whether they smoke or drink alcohol, how active they are, and if their family has a history of diabetes. All of these things can affect your health.

When they crunched the numbers, they found that the nurses who liked to stay up late had a 72% higher chance of getting diabetes.

But when they considered other things like eating habits and exercise, the risk dropped to 19%. Still, a 19% higher risk isn’t small potatoes.

Why Should Night Owls Worry?

Night owls were not just at risk because they stayed up late. The study found that people who like to stay up late also tended to have other habits that aren’t so great for your health.

For example, they drank more alcohol, ate less healthy food, got fewer hours of sleep, and were more likely to smoke. So, it’s a mix of being a night owl and making poor lifestyle choices that seems to increase the risk.

Even more interesting, this risk of getting diabetes was mostly seen in nurses who worked regular day shifts. Nurses who worked night shifts didn’t show the same increased risk.

The researchers think this could mean that if your work hours don’t match your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, it could mess with your health.

What’s Next?

The study mainly looked at white female nurses, so more research is needed to see if these findings apply to everyone else.

Also, this study can only show a link between being a night owl and the risk of getting diabetes; it can’t prove that one causes the other.

Researchers plan to study this topic more to understand it better and to look at how it might relate to heart health as well.

Wrapping It Up

So, what’s the takeaway here? If you’re a night owl, you might want to pay more attention to your lifestyle choices.

This doesn’t mean you have to become a morning person overnight, but small changes like eating better and exercising more can help lower your risk of getting diabetes.

Understanding the body’s natural sleep and wake cycle and its effect on our health is an emerging area of research.

This study adds an important layer of knowledge that could help people make healthier choices. And who knows, it might even lead to workplaces considering more flexible hours based on their employee’s natural sleep-wake cycles.

So, the next time you’re tempted to binge-watch your favorite show late into the night, remember: your body might thank you for hitting the sack a bit earlier.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about Higher doses of drug semaglutide show better results for type 2 diabetes and findings of Scientists find the best dose for diabetes treatment.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about the normal blood sugar for people with diabetes, and results showing Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

The research findings can be found in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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