Type II Diabetes Risk High In People Who Stay Up Late, Study Shows

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Staying up late or working night shifts can lead to long-term health issues, including a 19% higher risk of diabetes for night owls compared to early birds, according to researchers.

Night owls at risk of developing diabetes

Chronotype, also known as circadian inclination, is the sleep and wake timing of an individual influenced, in part, by genetic factors. Dr. Tianyi Huang, the corresponding author and an associate epidemiologist affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, emphasizes that individuals identifying as ‘night owls’ may need to be mindful of their lifestyle choices due to the potential association of their evening chronotype with an elevated susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes. 

In prior investigations conducted by the research team, it was found that individuals who maintained irregular sleep routines faced an elevated susceptibility to both diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, their observations revealed a correlation between individuals having evening chronotypes and the manifestation of less consistent sleep patterns. In the context of this latest research endeavor, the scholars set out to investigate the link between chronotype and the risk of developing diabetes, while taking into consideration various lifestyle factors.

Evening chronotype linked to 72% increased risk of diabetes

Before factoring in lifestyle variables, possessing an evening chronotype was linked to a 72% augmented susceptibility to diabetes. Subsequently considering these lifestyle variables, the risk still exhibited an elevated rate of 19%, as reported in the study. Among individuals with the most optimal health practices, only 6% exhibited an evening chronotype, contrasting with a prevalence of 25% among individuals with less favorable lifestyle choices.

Dr. Sina Kianersi, the first author of the research said that even after adjusting for unfavorable lifestyle habits, the robust link between being an evening chronotype and the risk of diabetes remained, although it was somewhat diminished. This implies that lifestyle elements contribute significantly to this connection.

The study found that having an evening chronotype increased the risk of Type 2 diabetes for nurse’s working day shifts but not for those working overnight. Dr. Huang noted that when work hours didn’t match chronotype, there was an increased risk of diabetes.

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