Staying up Late Poses Health Problems, Research Finds

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. premature / ˌpri məˈtʃʊər / (adj) – happening earlier than expected

    The premature baby boy was born three weeks before his mother’s due date.

  2. call attention to / kɔl əˈtɛn ʃən tu / (idiom) – to make people aware of something

    The researchers want to call attention to the health effects of lack of sleep.

  3. sleep in / slip ɪn / (phrasal) – to sleep until late in the morning

    I sleep in during the weekends.

  4. synchronize / ˈsɪŋ krəˌnaɪz / (v) – to make something operate at the same time

    We should synchronize our efforts to finish the project earlier.

  5. biological clock / ˌbaɪ əˈlɒdʒ ɪ k l klɒk / (n) – an internal system of the body that affects processes like sleep cycles

    Sleeping late can affect your biological clock.


Read the text below.

A study found that people who stay up late are more likely to suffer from health problems than those who sleep and get up early.

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Surrey /ˈsɜr i, ˈsʌr I / examined the link between one’s preference for mornings or evenings and risk of health problems. They observed over 430,000 participants aged 38 to 73 over the course of 6 and a half years. Among the participants, 9% considered themselves to be “extreme evening types,” while 27% described themselves as “extreme morning types.”

Based on the study findings, the “extreme evening types” were more prone to health conditions like diabetes, respiratory problems, heart diseases, and other health problems than the “extreme morning types.” Because of this, the former were 10% more likely to experience premature death than the latter.

The researchers suspected that inflexible working hours that usually last late in the evening account for the health problems. As this type of work schedule entails starting work early and ending it late, people in this set-up usually experience sleep deprivation, which can lead to unhealthy lifestyle practices.

Malcolm von Schantz, one of the researchers from the University of Surrey, found the findings alarming and called attention to this health issue.

Hence, the researchers are calling on employers to implement a flexible schedule and allow their employees, especially the “extreme evening types,” to sleep in and have more time to finish their tasks. In addition, Schantz encouraged other researchers to conduct studies about how “extreme evening types” can synchronize their biological clock with daytime.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that companies should allow employees to sleep in? Why or why not?
• Which industry in your country do you think has the most sleep-deprived employees? What made you say so?

Discussion B

• Aside from working late, what other factors do you think cause people to stay up late?
• In what other ways do you think can lack of sleep affect a person?