Late to bed and early to rise may actually be killing you slowly, according to a study that says people who stay up late and have to drag themselves out of bed are likelier to die younger than those who rise and set with the sun.
A survey of more than 430,000 people in Britain found that night owls had a 10-per cent higher risk of dying in the 6.5-year study period than “larks”. People in the late-night group were more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, diabetes, and stomach and breathing troubles, and slept fewer hours per night. They were also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and coffee, and use illegal drugs.
According to Dr Vishal Pawar, Specialist Neurologist at Aster Specialty Clinic, International City, “Chronic lack of sleep over the years can lead to diabetes and similar diseases as it lowers the quality of life by causing chemical imbalances, and eventually put you at a higher risk of dying earlier.”
He said that rather than shifting work hours as suggested in the study, people should be given general health awareness. “I personally have kept an alarm to remind myself of bed time,” said the doctor, adding that distractions such as use of devices, late dinners, and stimulants such as tea or coffee should be avoided before bed time.
“This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored,” said study co-author Malcolm van Schantz of the University of Surrey – and argued that “night types” should be allowed to start and finish work later in the day.
“Night owls trying to live in a morning-lark world may (suffer) health consequences,” said fellow author Kristen Knutson of the Northwestern University in Chicago.
The higher risk may be because “people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn’t match their external environment,” Knutson said.
Farooq Ahmed, a Dubai resident of 12 years, said that his sleep got affected when he got hooked to his mobile device. “I use it continuously, almost everything is stored in there, so even while am asleep, it is like am constantly alert,” he said.
“I have this habit of grabbing my phone even if I wake up in the middle of the night and that then affects my sleep,” said Constance Fernandes, another resident.