Not only is it important for us to sleep 7-8 hours a night, but a study
 published this week in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine on more than
400,000 people ages 40-69, found that our chronotype – that is the timing
of our sleep in relation to our circadian rhythm -  may be just as important. Researchers found that those ‘early to bed and early to rise’ were more likely to have heart healthy behaviors,  not smoke, eat healthier,  and be more physically active. The night owls and those who slept less than 7 or more than 9 hours were more likely to be sedentary, smokers, and have a poorer diet.

Source: University of Delaware. (2016, April 22). "Finding sleep's sweet spot ." Medical News Today. Retrieved from

Abstract of journal article is at:

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A number studies touting the benefits of sleep have been addressed in Health News You Can Use. This study, however, is a bit different. It was designed to find out if the timing and number of hours slept made a difference in regard to activity level, tobacco use and dietary habits associated with heart healthy behaviors. From the results, it seems it does.

Timing of sleep, or whether you are a morning person, evening person or somewhere in between, is your chronotype. Chronotype is not only related to heart health, but also obesity, type II diabetes1 , depression2, sleep apnea, elevated stress hormones, greater food portion size, higher body mass index, and lower HDL ( good cholesterol.)3

The evening or night owl chronotype is the one research has found related to increased risk of illness. To find out your chronotype, complete this online Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire
If you are a night owl, you might want to work on making some changes to bring your sleep time and circadian rhythms into better alignment as a step toward living a healthier lifestyle.

For more information:

1.Associations of chronotype and sleep with cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

2. Association between depressive mood and chronotype in healthy subjects

3. Evening chronotype is associated with changes in eating behavior, more sleep apnea, and increased stress hormones in short sleeping obese individuals.

Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES is the principal health education specialist at Associates for Health Education and Behavior in Sparta, a practice focused on improving health through education. For more information please see  To contact Dr. Hayden, email her at