The Danger of Being an Owl

Night owls Chronotype
Owls can enjoy a stroll under the starry sky, or burn the midnight oil to meet a deadline. But a serious downside might outweigh these pluses.

Night owls – people who get up late, and stay up late – are more likely to get diabetes and heart disease. They are also more likely to have:

 

 

 

  • neurological disorders
  • psychological disorders
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • respiratory disorders

Worst of all, they die at younger ages than larks, according to a 2018 study by Kristen Knutson and her colleagues, reported by The New York Times, and other media.

A key question Dr. Knutson raised, but did not address in this study, is whether these health problems are due to mismatches between a person’s “inner clock” and the requirements of jobs or school. In other words, might night owls shorten their lives if they have to be at work by 9, while larks age faster with the schedule of a bartender, or night watchman?

Find out whether you are a night owl by taking CET’s free, confidential self-assessment, the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (AutoMEQ).

If you are a night owl, and want to change, learn how you can do so.  Although we cannot guarantee to decrease your risk of an earlier death, we can say that genes are only are partly responsible for your chronotype (the extent to which you are an owl or lark). You can modify their expression.