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This Simple Bedtime Habit Can Help You Live Longer, Study Says

Early riser or night owl? Sleep timing is everything!

Okay, we get it: Being a morning person may not be your thing. But if you're not on an early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine, then tweaking your bedtime can actually help you live a longer existence, according to a recent study. Keep reading to learn more about the simple bedtime habit to slow aging and live longer and healthier.

Research conducted at Rutgers University reveals that early risers endure a lower metabolic risk of developing a super-common illness than individuals who go to bed late. Going to sleep on the later side can result in increased insulin resistance. This is known as metabolic syndrome, which occurs when several conditions go on at the same time, increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more.

The study, which was recently published in Experimental Physiology, observed the active hours (chronotype) of 51 adults. The participants were checked for fat metabolization while resting and exercising, along with their internal body clock (circadian rhythm). They were divided into an early risers group (those who head to bed before 11 p.m.) and a night owls group (those who usually go to sleep at 1 a.m or later). Each participant wore an accelerometer and had their blood pressure and waist circumference measured after fasting.

Related: Insomnia? This Is Your Guide To Sleeping Well, Expert Says

The study concluded that early risers metabolize higher levels of fat while exercising and fasting than individuals who stay up late.

Steven Malin, lead study author and endocrinology and metabolic health professor at Rutgers explains to Inverse, "We wanted to see what's going on with their metabolism, both during the rested or fasted state, in addition to during exercise or movement." Malin adds, "The principal finding became, 'Wow, the later chronotype used less fat, regardless of the state,' so they use less fat when they fasted, and they use less fat at moderate or high-intensity exercise."

Referring to night owls, Malin points out, "What this is suggesting is these risk profiles have lower fat metabolism, and less ability to store glucose as energy coupled with less physical activity, lower fitness levels, they're all suggestive of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease."

How does being an early riser translate to longevity?

Insulin resistance can cause type 2 diabetes, which can be serious enough to cause death. This chronic condition can also bring on major complications, such as amputation, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure, according to Diabetes UK.

Based on the study, early birds typically appear to be more active. Starting your day early enables you to perform tasks and activities earlier, along with getting more stuff checked off your to-do list. According to Malin, this daily activeness perhaps enhances one's metabolism and triggers a better response to insulin.

Malin shares, "The more movement we can have, the better our health," adding, "We see the greatest drops in mortality risks, cardiovascular disease, and so forth, going from being very inactive to being active."

Acknowledging that everyone has their own personal sleep time preferences, Malin suggests adding more movement to each day. Simply taking a walk or fitting in some extra steps to your routine can kick up your metabolism in the best way. Tweaking your bedtime and wake-up time just 15 minutes earlier can be truly life-changing. Are you ready to adopt this bedtime habit to slow aging and live longer? We hope so!

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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