There’s more bad news for night owls who are also diabetic. We already know that obesity can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Recent research suggests that the risk of diabetes and heart disease are particularly high when combined with tendencies from night owls.
“The sleep-wake cycle is one of the most important behavioral rhythms in humans.” said lead researcher Dr. Giovanna Muscogiuri. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy
This study compared sleep patterns and illnesses in 172 middle-aged people as part of an ongoing obesity prevention study in Italy that grouped participants by sleep patterns. 6 out of 10 participants were morning lark early risers who tended to wake up and be most active in the early day, 13% were night owls who tended to wake up late and be most active in the late afternoon / evening, and 3 out of 10 were In-between types that were somewhere in between.
All three groups had similar BMIs. However, the night owl group was more likely to eat large dinners and have other unhealthy habits such as lack of exercise and tobacco use, which placed them at higher risk for health problems.
30% of morning larks and 55% of night owls had heart disease. The diabetes risk was 9% in the morning lark and 37% in the night owl, with no difference between the intermediate group and the morning lark group.
Previous research has found that night owls have 1.3 times the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol compared to morning larks. Night owls are also less likely to follow a heart-friendly diet such as a Medierranenan diet, which is high in vegetables, fruits, and fish. The preliminary results of this study were presented at a virtual meeting of the European Congress on Obesity.
Taken together, Muscogiuri says that all of these traits help put night owls at higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. She also suggests that the best efforts to fight obesity could be more successful if sleep patterns were taken into account. As she explains, the idea would be to help obese people develop better sleep-wake habits based on getting up earlier, as these patterns could help develop better eating and activity habits as a result “Increase Your Chances of Success for Weight Loss.”
According to cardiologist Dr. For Kenneth Ellenbogen, of Virginia Medical College in Richmond, getting people to change their lifestyle habits / choices such as eating, sleeping, and activity routines may not be an easy task:
“We know how difficult it can be to reset an individual’s biological clock or activity habits.” he said. “And while this is certainly fascinating work, it’s really hard to know what is really going on in an observational study with a relatively small number of patients.”
Elbow also notes that it is unclear whether sleeping is a direct cause of the increased risks or whether it is the sleeping-related lifestyle that indirectly increases the risks. “I don’t know at all what the answer is” he said after checking the results. “And I certainly wouldn’t say that this study proves anything like cause and effect.“”