Some people sleep late while others sleep early. Those who sleep and wake up late are referred to as night owls. These people may have altered sleeping and waking cycles because of their habits – stress, blue light exposure, etc. can make one sleep late

When being a night owl becomes a lifestyle though, such people may experience some adverse side effects because the brain is naturally set to wake and sleep earlier. A new study reveals that sleeping and waking late can make one less productive.

What Does This New Study Reveal?

A new study which has been conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham, UK has revealed that brain activity patterns of night owls are different than those who sleep and wake up early. This difference in the brain’s activity can negatively impact the productivity levels of night owls.

For the purpose for the study, 38 health individuals were taken as volunteers. These participants were then divided into two groups. The first group was of 16 early risers while the second was of 22 late sleepers. The division was made on the basis of the melatonin and cortisol circadian rhythms of the participants.

The sleeping and waking patterns of these individuals were monitored and they were asked to fill in questionnaires regarding this as well. It was found that typically late sleepers slept at 2:30 am to wake up at 10:15 am.

Brain activity was assessed using MRI scans and participants were also tested as they performed tasks throughout the day. Early birds performed morning tasks better and more quickly in comparison to night owls. However, even at night, late sleepers were not able to perform better than the first group.

It was found that there was a difference in the brain activity of both types of people. Night owls showed to have lower resting brain connectivity in the areas of the brain that are related to maintaining consciousness. This means that night owls have shorter attention spans, slower reactions, and lower energy markers. This study has been published in the SLEEP journal.

Previous Studies That Indicate The Negative Effects Of Being A Night Owl

A previous study which came out last year and was published in the Advances in Nutrition journal had found that night owls have less healthy eating habits. For one, they miss breakfast. Secondly, they also tend to consume more caffeinated products, sugar, and alcohol.

Moreover, people who go to bed late also eat less grains and veggies. They have fewer meals, but their meals are larger. These eating habits increase the risks of heart disease, and metabolic conditions for them. Another study which was published in the journal Chronobiology International found that night owls are likely to die an earlier death in comparison early risers by 10%.

Yet another study which has been published in the Frontiers in Endocrinology journal has revealed that incorrect sleeping patterns can impact one’s weight. Being a night owl increases one’s risk of putting more pounds on.

Take Home Message

Previous studies show that being a night owl can mean that your diet is poorer. Sleeping and waking up late can also translate to a 10% earlier death and increased weight gain as well. Now a new study reveals that sleeping late at night means being fatigued during morning hours.

Investigators who conducted this study found a difference in the brain activities of night owls and morning birds. It was found that the former had shorter attention spans, less energy, and slower reactions.