Staying up late raises risk for serious health conditions

Staying up late raises risk for serious health conditions.

A new study has found that people who stay up late are more likely to develop serious health conditions such as diabetes, compared to people who wake up early.

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The study comes from South Korea and included more than 1,600 people who were all between the ages of 47 to 59. Researchers collected information from the participants about their sleep habits. They also performed tests on them to assess their overall health.

Out of all 1,600 study participants, 95 routinely stayed up late and 480 routinely woke up early as a part of their sleep habits. The rest of the study’s 1,025 participants had sleeping habits that were somewhere in the middle of going to bed late and waking up early.

According to Dr. Nan Hee Kim, of Korea University College of Medicine in Ansan, South Korea, "Regardless of lifestyle, people who stayed up late faced a higher risk of developing health problems like diabetes or reduced muscle mass than those who were early risers.” He also said, “This could be caused by night owls' tendency to have poorer sleep quality and to engage in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, late-night eating and a sedentary lifestyle."

Despite them being younger, the study’s participants who stayed up late had more body fat and fats in their blood than the ones that who woke up early. Additionally, the people in the study who stayed up late were also more likely to have sarcopenia – a condition in which the body’s muscle mass slowly decreases.

The men in the study who stayed up late were more likely to have diabetes or sarcopenia compared to the men who woke up early. The women in the study who woke up early had more belly fat and a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, compared to the women in the study who stayed up late. Excess belly fat and metabolic syndrome increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Staying up late is a common sleep habit among adolescents and young adults. Therefore, these groups need to be especially cautious about the health risks associated with staying up late.