'Night owls' report more insomnia-related symptoms

April 15, 2007

Those persons who are labeled a “night owl” report more pathological symptoms related to insomnia, despite many having the opportunity to compensate for their nocturnal sleeplessness by extending their time in bed and being able to gain more total sleep time, according to a study published in the April 15th issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM).

The study, authored by Jason C. Ong, PhD, and colleagues at Stanford University, consisted of 312 patients, who were categorized as morning, intermediate and evening chronotypes based upon scores on the Morningness-Eveningness Composite Scale. Group comparisons were made on self-report measures of nocturnal sleep, sleep period variability and waking correlates and consequences of insomnia.

Compared to the morning and intermediate types, people with insomnia who prefer evening activities (i.e., “night owls”) reported the most sleep/wake irregularities and waking distress, even after adjusting for severity of sleep disturbance.

“Our findings indicate that further research should investigate the relationship between circadian rhythms and insomnia, especially with the severity of the ‘night owl’ group,” said Ong. “These factors may serve to perpetuate the insomnia disorder, and might be particularly important to consider when treating this subgroup of insomniacs.”

Insomnia, a classification of sleep disorders defined by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, waking up too early, or poor quality sleep, is the most common sleep complaint at any age. About 30 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia.

The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.

Those who think they might have insomnia, or another sleep disorder, are urged to discuss their problem with their primary care physician, who will issue a referral to a sleep specialist.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Explore further: Income, education impact aspects of health in race, gender-specific ways

Related Stories

Anxiety is linked to death from cancer in men

October 20, 2016

About one in 14 people around the world are affected by anxiety disorders at any given time. Those who suffer from these conditions experience impairment, disability, and are at a high risk for substance abuse and suicide. ...

Sleep disorders may influence heart disease risk factors

September 20, 2016

Sleep problems including sleeping too little or too long, may be linked to a variety of factors that may raise the risk for cardiovascular diseases, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published ...

Recommended for you

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...

Mitochondria control stem cell fate

October 27, 2016

What happens in intestinal epithelial cells during a chronic illness? Basic research conducted at the Chair of Nutrition and Immunology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) addressed this question by generating a new ...

Hormone that controls maturation of fat cells discovered

October 25, 2016

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a hormone that controls the first step in the maturation of fat cells. Its actions help explain how high-fat diets, stress and certain steroid medications ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.