New Study Finds Middle-Aged Women Who Stay Up Late at Higher Risk for Diabetes
A new study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals that middle-aged women who prefer to stay up late may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study, which analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, followed over 60,000 middle-aged women without cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes from 2009 to 2017.
During this period, approximately 2,000 cases of diabetes were documented among the participants. The findings showed that women who identified as night owls had a higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes compared to early birds. About 11% of women in the study reported being night owls, while 35% identified as early birds.
Despite other risk factors, such as lack of exercise, being more common among night owls, the link between late sleep preference and diabetes remained significant even after accounting for these factors. In fact, middle-aged nurses with an evening chronotype had an increased diabetes risk compared to those with a morning chronotype.
It is important to note that this study is observational and can only establish a correlation, not a cause-and-effect relationship. Additionally, the study mainly included white women, which may limit the generalizability of the results.
According to the researchers, sleep preferences may play a role in increasing people’s susceptibility to diabetes. The study found a 19% increased risk of diabetes for night owls, after adjusting for other factors, which is considered significant.
Although changing one’s chronotype permanently is difficult since it is strongly influenced by genetics, there are steps that night owls can take to reduce their risk of diabetes. Adopting healthier diets and incorporating regular exercise into their routines can help mitigate the risks associated with late sleep preferences.
The study also suggests that the risks of staying up late may be related to a mismatch between individuals’ sleep preferences and societal expectations. Notably, no link was found between diabetes risk and night owls working night-shift jobs, indicating that the problem may be related to early waking times and reduced quality sleep.
In conclusion, middle-aged women who prefer to stay up late have been found to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to this new study. While further research is needed to establish a causal relationship, the findings highlight the importance of considering sleep preferences when assessing diabetes risk and promoting healthier lifestyle choices.
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