Night Owls Have Higher Rates of Diabetes and Psychological Disorders
The Inevitable Costs of Staying up Late and Cancer Risks
“Nearly one in four survivors of childhood cancer had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep,” says cancer expert Kathryn Ruble, M.S.N., Ph.D. , of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Exposure to light while working overnight shifts for several years may reduce levels of melatonin, encouraging cancer to grow and increasing the odds of cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries and prostate.
A study in the International Journal of Cancer found a relationship between women’s irregular work schedules and the rate of breast cancer. Researchers found that the rate of breast cancer was 30 percent higher for the women who had worked shifts. Women who had at least four years of night shift work, as well as those with fewer than three-night shifts per week were at the highest risk.
A new large-scale study found that night owl have a 10 percent higher risk of dying sooner than those with a preference for getting to bed early. Night owls were also seen to have higher rates of diabetes and psychological or neurological disorders.
Researchers suspect that a disruption in the circadian rhythm could pose a risk for developing cancer. The suppression of melatonin at night (which comes from exposure to bright light) may be one of the key factors. Further, the disturbance in circadian rhythm may increase the prevalence of gastrointestinal problems. Peptic ulcer disease is more common in shift workers.