Bad News, Night Owls: Staying Up Late Is Probably Hurting Your Health


If your best ideas happen at night and crawling into bed before 2 am is a struggle, it may be time to rethink your habit before middle age sets in.

New research shows night owls are often more susceptible to belly fat, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

A recently published Korean study analyzed the sleep patterns, fitness levels and lifestyle choices of 575 middle-aged participants who were found to be morning or night people.

Nearly 65 percent of the 1,600 eligible adults originally considered didn't fall exclusively into either category.

According to a press release, the team split the group into two chronotypes, each indicating a circadian preference to night or day.

When researchers compared physicality to chronotype, their findings were striking: Those who were more active at night, while younger than their morning peers, had higher body fat percentages.

They were also more likely to have sarcopenia, a degenerative condition resulting in lost muscle mass, which was particularly evident among the male participants.

Females who were late to bed showed more stomach fat than their early-rising peers. They also had increased risks of developing heart disease and diabetes and having a stroke.

Lead researcher Nan Hee Kim said the increased risk could be due to "unhealthy behaviors like smoking, late-night eating and a sedentary lifestyle."

And if you think you're off the hook because you're young, think again.

Kim recommends prioritizing a healthy sleep schedule now, saying,

Put down those late-night cheesy crackers; no one wants to risk health for the sake of an extra hour of television. Try snoozing just a little earlier tonight.

Citations: Why being a night owl is bad for your health: Those late to bed are more likely to have diabetes, weak muscles and pot bellies (Daily Mail)