(NBC News) Are you wide awake this morning, well-rested and ready to take on the world? If so, good news. You may end up living longer because of it.
When the sun goes down millions of people rev up, becoming energized and productive late into the evening, but burning the midnight oil could mean you'll burn out for good much sooner than early risers.
A new study from Northwestern Medicine finds a link between people who like to stay up late and early death.
"We found that the night owls had a ten percent increased risk of dying over about a six and a half year period," says associate professor of neurology Kristen Knutson.
Knutson's study of nearly a half million people found night owl habits foul up our internal clock.
"If the body is expecting you to do something at a certain time, like sleep or eat, and you're doing it at the quote 'wrong time,' then your body's physiology may not be working as well," she explains.
Eating at the wrong time, for example, might mean the body won't process blood sugar correctly, possibly contributing to diabetes or heart disease.
Knutson recommends gradually going to bed a little earlier each night.
"Once you achieve that, you have to keep a regular schedule. You can't start drifting later on weekends or vacations because you'll be back into night owl habits," she warns.
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