Wendy Handy

Wendy Handy

The Health Risks of Being a Night Owl and How to Improve Your Sleep Patterns

Happy Monday and happy June!

I recently came across an insightful article on the potential effects of being a night owl, and it really resonated with me. While we all know the importance of getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night (ideally between 10 PM and 6 AM), this article solidified it further.

And if you are a night owl, click the button button below to schedule a FREE 30 discovery call, to see if we should be working together!

Schedule a 30 min Discovery CallGood night, night owl.

Study Findings on Night Owls

The article highlighted a study conducted in the UK that tracked nearly 74,000 middle-aged and older people. The findings were alarming: night owls were 20-40% more likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders like depression and anxiety! 😱

Researchers suggested that late at night, people are more prone to making poor decisions, such as drinking, substance abuse, and overeating. This is due to the “mind after midnight” theory, which proposes that people become more impulsive, negative, and risk-prone during late hours.

Advice for Night Owls

To mitigate these risks, researchers advise night owls to get to sleep before 1 AM. However, this can be challenging since sleep patterns are stubbornly persistent. As I tell my clients regarding all aspects of DRESS® (diet, rest, exercise, stress management, and supplementation), it’s a process. Making baby steps is crucial. A 10% improvement each month means you’ll achieve your goal in 10 months, and smaller increments increase the likelihood of sticking to it.

The Negative Effects of AnxietyLet’s delve deeper into anxiety, one of the mental health disorders mentioned in the study. Anxiety can have several negative effects on your health, including:

Physical Health Effects

Cardiovascular Issues: Increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure, contributing to heart disease.Immune System Suppression: Weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to infections.Gastrointestinal Problems: Issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, and chronic indigestion.Respiratory Problems: Exacerbation of conditions like asthma and shortness of breath.Chronic Pain: Worsening of conditions like tension headaches and migraines.Sleep Disorders: Insomnia and other sleep disturbances, impairing physical health and cognitive function.Weight Changes: Changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or gain.Mental Health

Mental Health Effects

Depression: Often coexists with anxiety, each condition exacerbating the other.

Cognitive Impairment: Affects memory, attention, and decision-making abilities.

Substance Abuse: Turning to alcohol, drugs, or other substances as coping mechanisms.

Behavioral Effects

Avoidance Behavior: Avoiding certain situations, people, or activities, limiting life experiences and opportunities.

Social Isolation: Severe anxiety leading to social withdrawal and isolation.Procrastination: Difficulty completing tasks, impacting academic and professional success.

Long-Term Health Risks

Chronic Conditions: Increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

Shortened Lifespan: Chronic stress and anxiety contributing to a shortened lifespan due to cumulative health effects.

How to Change Your Sleeping Patterns

Changing your sleep patterns involves lifestyle changes in diet, rest, exercise, stress management, and supplementation. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1.  Establish a Routine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

2.  Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading or meditation.

3.  Limit Screen Time: Reduce exposure to screens at least an hour before bedtime.

4.  Exercise Regularly: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.

5.  Watch Your Diet: Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

6.  Create a Sleep-Conducive Environment: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.

Sleep is one of my strongest priorities, and for good reason! Ensuring quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.

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