More smug news for morning people: 'Night people' are sicker, at greater risk of death.

I am a morning person by nature. My preferable wake-up time is 7am. A ‘sleep in‘ is anywhere between 8:30 and 9:30am. A ‘wild night’ is when clocks tick over to 12:01am and I am still upright/vertical.

I am a morning person who has literally just been shuffled into the ‘night editor’ position here at Mamamia; a position that demands I begin work after lunch-time, and get home a smidgen before 11pm.

It’s been a good three years here but today I’m tempted to write a letter of resignation, given I stumbled across a study in Chronobiology International: The Journal of Biological and Medical Rhythm Research. The study, by Kristen L. Knutson and Malcolm von Schantz and published in mid-March, is titled ‘Associations between circadian rhythms, morbidity and mortality in the UK Biobank cohort’ – and seeks to determine whether there is a link between being a ‘morning’ or ‘night person’ and overall health.

Spoiler alert: There (probably) is.

The study’s 433,268 participants, aged between 38 and 73, were organised into four ‘chronotype’ groups based on their body clocks: definite morning types (27 per cent), moderate morning types (35 per cent), moderate evening types (28 per cent) or definite evening types (9 per cent). Their overall health was then re-analysed by researchers six and a half years after enrolling in the study.

Science has said that you can’t actually turn into a morning person if you aren’t already… Post continues.

Look, I’m no scientist, but here’s my take on the classifications: If you like to drink green smoothies on a weekly basis and have a membership to some kind of yoga gym, this is wild speculation, but I’m gonna call you a definite morning type.

If you were up until 1:30am last night watching ‘lucky near miss’ car crash videos, covered in a fine dust of Pringles salt, u is a definite evening type.



Here are your terrifying results:

‘Night people’ are generally sicker people… who may die earlier

A higher inclination towards “eveningness” (not my slang, theirs) is associated with a higher prevalence of comorbidities, AKA when you have a primary disease or disorder, as well as one or more additional diseases.

“Greater eveningness, particularly being a definite evening type, was significantly associated with a higher prevalence of all comorbidities,” the researchers found.

“Comparing definite evening type to definite morning type, the associations were strongest for psychological disorders, followed by diabetes, neurological disorders, gastrointestinal/abdominal disorders and respiratory disorders.

“…Compared to definite morning types, definite evening types had significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality.”



Of course, being a ‘night person’ isn’t always your choice – for example, you might work night shifts in a hospital – and that’s precisely why the researchers are pushing for change.

“These findings suggest the need for researching possible interventions aimed at either modifying circadian rhythms in individuals or at allowing evening types greater working hour flexibility,” the researchers suggested.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a nap under my desk.

To read the full study, click here.