In new research carried out by the University of Leicester and the University of South Australia, scientists have identified a link between the bedtime preference, (also known as the sleep chronotype), of people living with type 2 diabetes and their propensity to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
The results of the study which examined 635 patients with type 2 diabetes and was published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, 2020, found that people who like to go to bed late and get up late (an evening chronotype) were likely to exercise less and live a more sedentary lifestyle than people who prefer to go to bed early and get up early (a morning chronotype). By doing lower levels and lower intensities of physical activity, night owls are putting their health at greater risk.
Changing your sleep routine from a night owl to an early bird persona could help you increase your exercise and physical activity, in turn leading to improvements in body weight, blood glucose levels and blood pressure.
Dr Alex Rowlands, from the University of South Australia says the research findings could potentially help people living with type 2 diabetes to improve their diabetes management. “A link between later sleep times and physical activity in this study was evident: go to bed late and you’re less likely to be active,” Dr Rowlands says.
While this study presents interesting outcomes, lifestyle modifications generally involve planning, support, time and commitment. If you are considering introducing more physical activity into your life and feel you require support you might wish to talk to your GP, see an exercise physiologist or attend one of Diabetes WA’s education programs.