People who stay awake until late into the night are more likely to develop a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
This is according to new research at the Korea University College of Medicine. The researchers found that going to bed later and waking up later increases the risk of sleep loss, poor sleep quality, metabolic change, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
The study involved 1,620 participants, each of whom answered questions about their sleep cycle, lifestyle, and quality of sleep.
480 participants were categorised as morning chronotypes, or “morning people,” and 95 were considered evening chronotypes. Most of the participants were somewhere between the two.
The evening chronotypes had higher levels of body fat, and were more likely to have a condition that gradually erodes muscle mass (sarcopenia).
Men who stayed up during the night and woke up later were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Women had, on average, higher levels of belly fat, and they had a higher risk of metabolic syndromen, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Recently, there have been a great number of studies examining the effects of sleep and sleep cycles on the development of type 2 diabetes. Findings have included: sleeping later at the weekend than in the week increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, and being exposed to artificial light impairs healthy sleep and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The research has focused on the disruption of circadian rhythms, and the effect this can have on the development of type 2 diabetes.
Circadian rhythms are physical and mental changes that follow the natural cycle of light and darkness. Circadian rhythms are responsible for sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, and bodily temperature.
Circadian rhythms also influence sleep patterns. The production of melatoni, which is the hormone responsible for healthy sleep, is affected by circadian rhythms. So when circadian rhythms are disrupted, melatonin production is disrupted, which in turn affects healthy sleep patterns.
Healthy sleep is hugely important in preventing the development of diabetes. Studies have suggested that inconsistent sleep patterns have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Nan Hee Kimof, of Korea University College of Medicine, said:
“Regardless of lifestyle, people who stayed up faced a higher risk of developing health problems like diabetes or reduced muscle mass than those who were early risers.
“This could be caused by night owls’ tendency to have poorer sleep quality and to engage in unhealthy behaviours like smoking, late-night eating and a sedentary lifestyle.
“Considering many younger people are evening chronotypes, the metabolic risk associated with their circadian preference is an important health issue that needs to be addressed.”

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