Early to bed, early to rise, while the old saying promises health, wealth and wisdom, new research confirms part of the adage holds true, as a world first study shows that people who go to bed early are more likely to be in better health and more physically active compared to night owls.
Conducted by the University of Leicester and the University of South Australia, the study assessed the bedtime preferences of people with Type Two Diabetes, identifying a connection between bedtimes and healthy, active lifestyles.
It found that night owls have an excessively sedentary lifestyle, characterised by low levels and low intensities of physical activity which puts their health at greater risk.
Lead researcher, Dr Joseph Henson from the University of Leicester, says understanding how people’s sleep time preferences can impact their level of physical activity, could help people with Type Two Diabetes better manage their health.
“There is a massive need for large-scale interventions to help people with diabetes initiate, maintain and achieve the benefits of an active lifestyle,” Joseph says. “For people who prefer to go to bed later and get up later, this is even more important, with our research showing that night owls exercise 56% less than their early bird counterparts.”
The University of South Australia’s Dr Alex Rowlands says the study provides a unique insight into behaviours of people with Type Two Diabetes. “The links between later sleep times and physical activity is clear: go to bed late and you’re less likely to be active,” Alex says. “For someone with diabetes, this is valuable information that could help get them back on a path to good health.”