If you find yourself toiling away into the wee hours of the night and dreading the morning alarm clock, you’re likely to identify as a night owl.
Night owls have received a good bit of criticism from early birds over the years, but having a preference for staying up late is hard-wired into those with an evening chronotype.
While there is nothing wrong with being a night owl in and of itself, new evidence shows that those who go to bed and wake up late are more likely to develop some chronic illnesses.
A recent Harvard University study points to night owls being 72% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than early risers. This disparity is largely due to lifestyle factors more common among night owls, like excessive alcohol use, smoking, a higher body mass index, poor diet and less physical activity.
Once researchers took unhealthy lifestyle factors out of the mix, that number dropped to 19% — still a notable increase over the early birds.
Experts recommend that night owls take note of these risk factors and work to avoid or eliminate them to lower the likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease or other chronic conditions.
Another important finding the scientists uncovered was that natural night owls who worked later in the day or overnight did not have the same risk association for diabetes.
Like it or not, many night owls must stick to the typical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day due to family obligations and career opportunities. If this is your predicament, be mindful of how your lifestyle choices may increase your risk.
Rather than binge-watching just one more episode, think about saving it for for tomorrow night.