Are you one of those people who likes to burn the midnight oil?
That means you probably fall into the NIGHT OWL category … which is linked with being open-minded and creative.
But as it also turns out, people who are night owls are more likely to be LESS ACTIVE than early birds.
Plus, being a night owl is associated with a higher risk of many health issues.
But scientists say with a few routine shifts, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Check out these studies:
- Study 1: In a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, more than 5,000 people had their activity level monitored using a movement tracker.
After taking into account several factors (including health issues), scientists found that night owls had up to 60 to 90 fewer activity minutes every day. GASP!
And we all know that being less active is linked with a higher risk of many diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
- Study 2: More than 433,000 British adults categorized themselves on a scale of “morning” to “evening” people. Scientists tracked their health for more than 6 years to see if there was a link between their health and their sleeping habits.
Well, the night owls had twice the risk of mental health issues, a 30% higher risk of diabetes, and around 25% higher chances of developing neurological problems, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory diseases.
Researchers aren’t sure why there is a link between staying up late at night and moving less/having health issues ... but they do have theories:
- Getting up later can mean you have less time for exercise during the day.
- Staying up late means more time to drink, smoke, snack, etc.
- The timing of eating/sleeping can affect how your body releases insulin, leading to blood sugar issues.
- Or it could be that night owls simply struggle to sync their internal clock with the rest of the world, which operates on an earlier schedule.
If you’re a night owl, here are a few tips to reset your body clock. Gradually ease into these steps:
- Start with your wake-up time. If you usually get up at 8 a.m., try 15 mins earlier.
- Move your bedtime back the same number of minutes as your earlier wake-up time (i.e., 15 minutes).
- If at all possible, get some bright light first thing in the morning. It will help your body balance the amount of melatonin (a sleep hormone) you produce.
- If your schedule allows, start your nighttime routine earlier (especially workouts and eating dinner).
- Keep your schedule the same on weekends.
Plus … simply being AWARE of these pitfalls can help you be more mindful of your healthy habits. It can also remind you to prioritize time for intentional movement (aka workouts) and regular meals!
Coach Tom CFL-3, USAW-2, Sports Nutritionist