Night Owls Have More Insomnia Symptoms
Study Shows Night Owls Report More Daytime Sleepiness, Worse Sleep Habits
WebMD News Archive
April 17, 2007 - Night owls may be in the dark about insomnia compared with
A new study shows night owls report significantly more insomnia symptoms
even when they get the same amount or more sleep than their morning-loving
For example, researchers found that night owls reported more sleeping
irregularities and greater distress about sleep while awake than morning types
despite compensating for burning the midnight oil by waking up later or
spending more time in bed.
Common symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, staying
asleep, waking up too early, and fatigue during the day.
Recent studies have linked insomnia and lack of sleep to several health
problems, including an increased risk of depression, obesity, and
Night Owls Losing Sleep
In the study, researchers compared insomnia symptoms among 312 people who
went to a sleep clinic for insomnia treatment. Each of the participants kept a
sleep diary for a week before treatment and filled out questionnaires about
their attitudes about sleep and sleeping habits.
The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine,
showed that even after adjusting for the total amount of time awake as a
measure of insomnia severity, those who considered themselves night owls
reported more insomnia symptoms. Compared with morning types and others, night
owls reported more total sleep time, more time in bed, greater variability in
time in and out of bed, and higher levels of distress about sleep.
“Our findings indicate that further research should investigate the
relationship between circadian rhythms and insomnia, especially with the
severity of the ‘night owl’ group,” says researcher Jason Ong, PhD, of Stanford
University, in a news release. “These factors may serve to perpetuate the
insomnia disorder and might be particularly important to consider when treating
this subgroup of insomniacs.”
Researchers say morning types appear to have more regular social rhythms
than night owls, which might encourage healthier sleeping habits.
In addition, researchers say previous studies show night owls tend to report
more daytime sleepiness and have a harder time adapting healthy sleeping habits
than morning people.