Morning People May Live Longer Than Night Owls

In a study of 433,000 people over 6 1/2 years, researchers found that if you like staying up late and sleeping in — aka being a “night owl” — you not only are more likely to have more mental and physical illnesses, but are 10 percent more likely to have an early death. According to BBC, this was true even after adjusting for age, sex, smoking status and socioeconomic levels. The good news is that there are things you can do to reset your body clock, even if a night owl life is in your genes.

This aligns with what sleep scientist and author Matthew Walker found in his own sleep studies of industrialized nations, which suggest that a lack of sleep is having a catastrophic impact on our health and wellness, and is fast becoming one of our greatest public health challenges. Likewise, more than 20 large-scale epidemiological studies, tracking millions of people over many decades, report the same clear relationship: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life.

Sleeplessness has been shown to have a devastating effect on your health and well-being, contributing to chronic illnesses such as dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Even some vehicle crashes are believed to be due to sleep deprivation.

Research suggests most adults need about eight hours of sleep per night to maintain good health, and while sleep problems can be caused or exacerbated by a number of different factors, three that are frequently overlooked are your sleep position, light pollution and exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Studies also show that the more time you spend on electronic devices during the day, and especially at night, the longer it takes to fall asleep and the less sleep you get overall, so addressing these things can go a long way toward helping you get more sleep and rise and shine feeling refreshed earlier in the morning.

Regardless of your thoughts on the topic, it’s for this reason that you need to prioritize sleep and take steps to ensure you get quality sleep. I encourage you to take a few moments today to evaluate your sleep habits. Are you getting enough sleep? If not, what’s one change you can make to improve your sleep? If you need help getting started, check out my "33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep."

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