Early risers tend to be more healthy in comparison to night owls, new research finds.
People who prefer to rise early and go to bed early eat more healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, and they have steadier eating patterns.
Night owls, though, tend to consume more sugar, alcohol and fast food.
Night owls are more likely to suffer from both heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Dr Suzana Almoosawi, the study’s first author, said:
“We have found that your genes, ethnicity and gender determine the likelihood of you being a morning or evening type.
In adulthood, being an evening chronotype is associated with greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and this may be potentially due to the poorer eating behaviour and diet of people with evening chronotype.
Our review also found that people who have a poorer control of their diabetes are more likely to be evening types.”
One way of shifting towards being a morning person is to get outside more.
Daylight exposure is linked to earlier sleep and waking.
Dr Almoosawi said:
“In teenagers, we also find that evening chronotype is related to more erratic eating behaviour and poorer diet.
This could have important implications to health in adulthood as most dietary habits are established in adolescence.”
The conclusions come from a review of many different studies on nutrition and sleep.
Dr Leonidas G Karagounis, study co-author, said:
“…studies suggest that an evening chronotype is associated with lower intake of fruits and vegetables, and higher intake of energy drinks, alcoholic, sugary and caffeinated beverages, as well as higher energy intake from fat.
Further research on the best methods to assess an individual’s chronotype and how this may affect their long-term cardiometabolic health can potentially guide the development of health promotion strategies aimed at preventing and treating chronic diseases based on an individual’s chronotype.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Advances in Nutrition (Almoosawi et al., 2018).