A recent study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School has revealed that individuals with an evening chronotype are at a higher risk for developing diabetes and tend to engage in unhealthy lifestyle habits. The study, which involved over 60,000 middle-aged nurses, found that participants with an evening chronotype were 72 percent more likely to develop diabetes compared to those with a morning chronotype.
In addition to the increased risk of diabetes, individuals with an evening chronotype were also found to engage in an overall unhealthy lifestyle. This included habits such as smoking, poor sleep, and physical inactivity. On the other hand, those with a morning chronotype exhibited healthier lifestyle habits.
Chronotype, also known as circadian preference, refers to one’s inclination for earlier or later sleeping times. Approximately 8% of the population possesses an evening chronotype. Previous research has associated an evening chronotype with poor metabolic regulation, disturbances in glycemic control, and a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes. However, the exact reasons behind the connection between an evening chronotype and increased diabetes risk remain unclear.
The study’s findings suggest that factors such as profession, education level, and socioeconomic status of participants may influence these results. The researchers emphasize the need for future investigations to determine whether the findings apply to other populations, such as men, non-White racial or ethnic groups, and different socioeconomic classes.
An editorial accompanying the study suggests that circadian misalignment due to a mismatch between chronotype and work timing may be a potential mechanism for the observed results. The authors suggest that reassigning evening chronotype workers to night shifts may improve their sleep and metabolic health. They also highlight the importance of developing standardized tools to assess chronotype regularly throughout a person’s life.
This study provides valuable insights into the relationship between chronotype and diabetes risk, shedding light on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and considering the impact of sleep patterns on metabolic health.
Source: This article is based on the study “Chronotype, Unhealthy Lifestyle, and Diabetes Risk in Middle-Aged U.S. Women: A Prospective Cohort Study” published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.