Love to watch late-night TV or chat with your girlfriend till the wee hours? You may run a greater risk of developing diabetes than early risers despite getting equal amount of sleep, a new study warns.
The study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism examined the difference between night and morning chronotypes, or a person's natural sleep-wake cycle.
Besides diabetes, night owls (people who stay up late and get up late in the morning) are also more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia - gradual loss of muscle mass - than early risers, the findings showed.
Staying awake till late night is likely to cause sleep loss, poor sleep quality, and eating at inappropriate times, which might eventually lead to metabolic change, the researchers noted.
"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," said one of the study's authors Nan Hee Kim from the Korea University College of Medicine in Ansan, South Korea.
"This could be caused by night owls' tendency to have poorer sleep quality and to engage in unhealthy behaviours like smoking, late-night eating and a sedentary lifestyle," Kim said.
The study examined sleeping habits and metabolism in 1,620 participants in the population-based cohort Korean Genome Epidemiology Study (KoGES).
The study participants were between the ages of 47 and 59.
Even though the evening chronotypes tended to be younger, they had higher levels of body fat and triglycerides, or fats in the blood, than morning chronotypes.
Night owls also were more likely to have sarcopenia, a condition where the body gradually loses muscle mass.
Men who were evening chronotypes were more likely have diabetes or sarcopenia than early risers.
Among women, night owls tended to have more belly fat and a great risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk facts that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.