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How Sleep Affects Metabolism

Do you prefer the bustling energy of night-time or the calmness that accompanies morning hours?

It's possible your metabolism may be impacted by this.

A current study reveals that individuals with metabolic syndrome* who have a penchant for staying up late and sleeping in (Hi, night owls!) can be prone to type 2 diabetes.

*Metabolic syndrome is the diagnostic cluster consisting of 3 or more of: increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and low HDL cholesterol levels or high triglyceride levels

Here’s how the study went:

  • For seven days, 51 individuals with metabolic syndrome were closely monitored to observe their daily activity patterns.

  • All participants ate an identical diet that was carefully regulated in nutrition and calories.

  • The results indicated that early risers burned more fat for energy, whether in motion or at rest, and had improved insulin sensitivity.

  • Night owls’ bodies preferred carbohydrates as a source of fuel and were found to be more resistant to insulin.

This research was conducted with individuals who already had metabolic syndrome, so it is unknown if this would also be true for those without the condition.

Although it's important to be aware of the relationship between sleeping late and insulin resistance, how can we take actionable steps to tackle this problem?

Can those of us who are accustomed to waking up late in the day realistically adjust our habits and become morning people?

Here are a few helpful tips that might just do the trick!

  • Create a consistent sleep routine and stick to it as much as possible. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your body adjust to its new schedule over time.

  • Letting light into your morning routine can help reset your body clock, creating a more productive and energized day.

  • To maintain alertness and energy, it's wise to reduce your caffeine intake and take regular breaks from work. Doing so will leave you feeling refreshed rather than exhausted!

  • Bypassing daytime snoozing can help you maintain alertness later at night when its time to drift off.

With some dedication and consistency, you have the potential to gain all of the advantages that come with an early bird lifestyle! The rewards are worth it - so don't delay in reaping them!


Malin, S. K., Remchak, M. E., Smith, A. J., Ragland, T. J., Heiston, E. M., & Cheema, U. (2022). Early chronotype with metabolic syndrome favours resting and exercise fat oxidation in relation to insulin-stimulated non-oxidative glucose disposal. Exp Physiol. [link]

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