Night owls at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, says study

“Insulin tells muscles to be spongy and absorb glucose in the blood,” said senior study author Steven Malin, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health. at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“Think of it like water from a faucet: You turn on the water and a drop touches the sponge and is immediately absorbed,” Malin said. “But if you’re not exercising, engaging those muscles, it’s like the sponge had to sit for a few days and work hard. A drop of water isn’t going to make it soft again. “

If sleep chronotype is influencing how our bodies use insulin and affecting metabolism, then being a night owl may be useful in predicting a person’s risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, Malin said. Told.

D., director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “That adds to what the study has,” said Phyllis Zee, who was not involved in the research.

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“There is good evidence that sleeping late is associated with a higher risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease,” said Xie, a professor of neurology. “Several mechanisms have been proposed: sleep deprivation, circadian misalignment, eating later in the day and exposure to less morning light and more evening light, all of which have been shown to affect insulin sensitivity.”

body clock and chronology

All humans have a circadian rhythm – an internal 24-hour body clock that regulates the release of the hormone melatonin to promote sleep and shuts down production so we can stay awake. Our body clock also dictates when we are hungry, when we feel most lethargic, and when we feel excited enough to exercise, among many other bodily functions.

The study found that being a night owl may reduce activity levels during the day.

Traditionally, the time of sunrise and night controlled the human sleep-wake cycle. Daylight enters the eyes, travels to the brain and sends a signal that suppresses melatonin production. When the sun goes down, the body clock turns melatonin production back on, and sleep occurs a few hours later.

Your individual sleep chronology, which is thought to be inherited, can alter that natural rhythm. If you’re a born early bird, your circadian rhythm releases melatonin much earlier than normal, which activates you to be most active in the morning. However, in night owls, the internal body clock secretes melatonin much later, causing sluggishness in the early morning and peak activity and alertness in the later afternoon and evening.

Experts say that sleep chronology can have a profound effect on productivity, school performance, social functioning and lifestyle habits. early birds tend to do better in schooland are more active throughout the day, which may partly explain why studies have shown they have a lower risk of heart disease, Malin said.
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evening type may take more risksuse more Tobacco, Alcohol and Caffeineare more likely Skip breakfast and eat more later in the day, In addition, research shows that “later chronotypes tend to have more body fat in the abdomen or abdominal region, an area that many health professionals consider worse for our health,” Malin said.

Fats or Carbs?

Researchers classified 51 adults without heart disease or diabetes into a chronology of morning or evening based on their natural sleep and wake preferences. During the study, participants ate a controlled diet and fasted overnight, while their activity levels were monitored for a week.

research team determined Each person’s body mass, body composition and fitness level, and measured levels of insulin sensitivity. In addition, the researchers looked at how each person’s metabolism got most of its energy through fat or carbohydrates.

“Fat metabolism is important because we think that if you can burn fat for energy that’s going to help muscles take up glucose in a more sustainable fashion,” Malin said.

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Burning fat can promote endurance and greater physical and mental activity throughout the day. On the other hand, carbohydrate is what the body uses for intense physical activity. Carbs burn more quickly, which is why many athletes carb-load before a race or marathon.

Test results showed that early birds used more fat for energy during rest and exercise than the night owls in the study, who used more carbohydrates as a source of fuel.

More research is needed, Malin said, to confirm the findings and determine whether metabolic differences are due to chronology or a possible misalignment between a night owl’s natural preference and society-set hours to wake up early. the wanted. work and school.

People who are constantly out of sync with their innate body clock are said to have “social jet lag.”

“It goes beyond just diabetes or just heart disease,” Malin said. “This could point to a larger social issue. How are we helping people who may be in misalignment? Are we as a society forcing people to behave in those ways? Who can really put them at risk?

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