According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, USA, individuals who have a habit of sleeping and waking up late may face an elevated risk of developing diabetes compared to those who adhere to early sleep patterns. This research delved into the connection between a person’s chronotype (their preferred sleep and wake timings) and the likelihood of diabetes, taking into consideration various lifestyle factors. The study, which has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, scrutinized data collected from 63,676 female nurses.
Those with evening chronotype exhibited higher risk of diabetes
The findings revealed that approximately 11 per cent of the participants identified as having an evening chronotype, 35 per cent favoured morning, and 54 per cent fell into the intermediate category. Individuals with an evening chronotype exhibited a 72 per cent higher risk of diabetes, which reduced to 19 per cent when accounting for lifestyle factors.
Further analysis indicated that individuals leading healthier lifestyles had only 6 per cent who identified as evening chronotypes, while those with less healthy habits had a higher proportion, at 25 per cent.
Lead author Sina Kianersi, a postdoctoral research student at Brigham’s Channing Division of Network Medicine, commented, “When we controlled for unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, the strong association between chronotype and diabetes risk decreased but still persisted, underscoring the role of lifestyle factors in explaining a significant portion of this association.”
Interestingly, the study also uncovered a link between evening chronotype and diabetes risk only among nurses who worked day shifts, with no such association observed among those on overnight shifts. Tianyi Huang, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham, noted, “When chronotype did not align with work hours, we observed an increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes, suggesting that more personalized work scheduling could be beneficial.”
Additionally, the research indicated that individuals with evening chronotypes were more inclined to consume higher quantities of alcohol, maintain a low-quality diet, get fewer hours of sleep per night, engage in smoking, and exhibit unhealthy weight, BMI, and physical activity levels.
Kianersi concluded, “If we can establish a causal link between chronotype and diabetes or other diseases, physicians can tailor prevention strategies more effectively for their patients.” The researchers are now planning to explore the genetic factors influencing chronotype and its connection to cardiovascular diseases, alongside diabetes.