A recent comprehensive study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has revealed a significant connection between evening “chronotypes” and a heightened risk of developing diabetes.
The study, led by Associate Epidemiologist Tianyi Huang and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, underscores the importance of considering sleep-wake patterns in relation to health outcomes.
Chronotype, which refers to an individual’s preferred timing of sleep and waking, is influenced in part by genetics. The research, based on data from 63,676 female nurses enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II between 2009 and 2017, found that individuals with an evening chronotype, often known as “night owls,” faced a 19 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even after adjusting for lifestyle factors.
Before accounting for lifestyle factors, the study revealed that evening chronotypes had a 72 percent higher risk of diabetes. This risk remained elevated at 19 percent after adjusting for lifestyle factors. Interestingly, participants with unhealthy lifestyles were more likely to identify as evening chronotypes.
The study suggests that tailoring work schedules based on chronotype could be a valuable strategy for managing health risks. However, it’s essential to note that the research primarily focused on white female nurses, and further studies are necessary to confirm its relevance to broader populations and establish causality.
Future investigations will delve into the genetic factors contributing to chronotype and their potential association with cardiovascular diseases in more extensive and diverse populations, aiming to provide a deeper understanding of the link between chronotype and various health conditions.