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Insomnia Among ‘Night owls’

Interesting research suggest people who ostentatiously label themselves as ‘night owls’–preferring evening activities–often have pathologic sleep symptoms related to insomnia.

Investigators discover the individuals report more sleep/wake irregularities and waking distress 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.

The study is published in the April 15th issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM).

Lead author Jason C. Ong, PhD, and colleagues at Stanford University, reviewed 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

Insomnia Among ‘Night owls’

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Insomnia Among ‘Night owls’. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/04/17/insomnia-among-night-owls/756.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.