'Night owls' report more insomnia-related symptoms

Apr 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: A real-time tracking system developed to monitor dangerous bacteria inside the body

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA investigating deep-space hibernation technology

3 hours ago

Manned missions to deep space present numerous challenges. In addition to the sheer amount of food, water and air necessary to keep a crew alive for months (or years) at a time, there's also the question ...

Improving slumber on the space station with sleep-long

Jun 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- It is difficult to sleep in a strange place, especially when you are far from home. Just imagine if you were approximately 210 miles from home and free floating in a spacecraft orbiting the ...

'Jeopardy!'-winning computer delving into medicine

May 22, 2011

Some guy in his pajamas, home sick with bronchitis and complaining online about it, could soon be contributing to a digital collection of medical information designed to help speed diagnoses and treatments.

Moderate sleep and less stress may help with weight loss

Mar 29, 2011

If you want to increase your chances of losing weight, reduce your stress level and get adequate sleep. A new Kaiser Permanente study found that people trying to lose at least 10 pounds were more likely to reach that goal ...

Recommended for you

Cause of ageing remains elusive

19 hours ago

A report by Chinese researchers in the journal Nature a few months ago was a small sensation: they appeared to have found the cause for why organisms age. An international team of scientists, headed by the ...

Newly discovered bacterial defence mechanism in the lungs

20 hours ago

A new study from Karolinska Institutet presents a previously unknown immunological mechanism that protects us against bacterial infections in the lungs. The study is being published in the American Journal of Respiratory an ...

User comments : 0