The Pitfalls of Being a Night Owl

I’m a night owl. My husband’s a night owl. So, we’re often awake until the wee hours of the morning before we finally head to bed. But, all that might be changing thanks to a new study that showcased the potentially serious health risks of being a night owl.

According to the study published in Advances in Nutrition researchers found that those late nights can result in harmful changes to blood sugars and fats, as well as blood pressure levels. The researchers found that these changes may eventually contribute to an increased risk of diabetes or heart disease.

While there are different factors that can contribute to whether a person is a night owl or a morning lark, our circadian rhythms are largely determined by our genetics. We’re typically born with a predisposition to being more alert in the morning or evening. Scientists have labelled these personality types as chronotypes, reflecting whether we’re more predisposed to being alert in the morning or evening. Additionally, while we rarely hear about those with a preference for afternoons, there is also an afternoon chronotype, which is called neutral since these people are neither larks nor owls.

Before you panic about being a night owl, there are many people who think they are night owls but are actually just making dietary and lifestyle choices that contribute to their alertness at night and difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

Some people simply go to bed too late because they like to stay up late. While our bodies were made to start getting sleepy with the onset of darkness, artificial lighting from city lights or even indoors can trick our bodies into thinking they are not tired yet.

Shift work can also throw off the body’s delicate circadian rhythms. Let’s face it: most of us are creatures of habit that would prefer not to work alternating night and day shifts.

Obviously, stimulants like caffeine play a role in alertness at various times of the day. If you drink caffeine after 3pm, it’s probably not just genetics playing a role in your night owl tendencies.

Even the time of day you eat and the amount of food you eat can play a role in your bodily rhythms, thereby impacting your night owl or lark tendencies. Eating a large amount of food late in the evening is likely going to impact your ability to sleep or your sleep quality, making it hard to get out of bed when morning comes.

The researchers also found that night owls are less likely to eat healthy options and are instead, more likely to consume alcohol, sugar and caffeine. They were also more likely to skip breakfast and eat fewer vegetables and grains. They also were found to eat fewer, but larger, meals.

So, what’s a night owl to do? First, start by switching to healthier eating habits. That can include: not skipping breakfasts or other meals, eating more vegetables at meals, adding more whole grains to your diet and cutting back on alcohol, sugar and caffeine consumption. Those dietary changes alone may be sufficient to switch off the health risks of being a night owl.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Cancer-Proof: All Natural Solutions for Cancer Prevention and HealingFollow her work.

 

87 comments

Thomas M
Thomas M2 days ago

Thank you

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Jack Y
Jack Y8 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y8 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J8 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J8 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Crystal G
Crystal G26 days ago

There are no pitfalls to being a night person. And no more health risks than being a day person.

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Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer27 days ago

And the other article is ''5 Benefits of Being a Night Owl'' !!!!

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Sheila D
Sheila D28 days ago

I hate getting up early, but hate sleeping in more. After years of rotating shifts, I've finally settled on bed by 10 pm and up by 6 am, give or take. Whatever works. Sounds like it's more of a problem if the person doesn't eat right or has no schedule at all. Thanks for the post.

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Latoya B
Latoya Brookinsabout a month ago

If you wake up at noon you feel like you've wasted the day.

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joan silaco
joan sabout a month ago

I am the ultimate night owl!

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