Early Risers Fare Better When It Comes to Metabolic Health

If you're a "morning person," your risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia - loss of muscles mass - is lower than your night-owl friend's risk.

A new study found that staying awake later at night is linked to poorer sleep quality and eating at inappropriate times, which are two factors that may eventually cause problems in metabolic and hormonal health.

Even when the 1,620 study participants got the same amount of sleep, differences were seen between night and morning "chronotypes" - which refers to a person's natural sleep cycle.

"Considering many younger people are evening chronotypes, the metabolic risk associated with their circadian preference is an important health issue that needs to be addressed," said study co-author Nan Hee Kim, MD, PhD.

Higher body fat, more muscle loss

Men who were night owls had a greater risk for diabetes than their early-riser counterparts, and women who went to bed later had more abdominal fat than morning chronotypes - a risk factor that can lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes.

Night owls also had more body fat, higher levels of triglycerides and a greater risk for sarcopenia, a condition where the body gradually loses muscle mass. Muscle mass is important for metabolic health, as it helps the body to burn excess fat.

"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," Kim 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."

Source: Endocrine Society
Image courtesy of papaija2008/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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