Longitudinal change of sleep timing: association between chronotype and longevity in older adults

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Evening-oriented sleep timing preferences have been associated with risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, psychiatric disorders, and increased mortality. This research aims to explore the relationship between diurnal preferences (chronotype), daily habits, metabolic health, and mortality, using longitudinal data from The University of Manchester Longitudinal Study of Cognition in Normal Healthy Old Age (6375 participants at inception, recruited in the North of England) with a long follow-up period (up to 35.5 years). Mixed models were used to investigate the influence of aging, socio-demographic, and seasonal factors on sleep timing. Results show that sleep timing shifted towards earlier time with aging. Test seasons influence chronotype of older adults but working schedules challenge seasonality of sleep timing. Moreover, the season of birth may set chronotype in adulthood. Individual chronotype trajectories were clustered using latent class analysis and analyzed against metabolic health and mortality. We observed a higher risk of hypertension in the evening-type cluster compared to morning-type individuals (Odds ratio= 1.88, 95%CI = 1.02/3.47, p= .04). Evening-type cluster was also associated with traits related to lower health such as reduced sport participation, increased risk of depression and psychoticism personality, late eating, and increased smoking and alcohol usage. Finally, Cox regression of proportional hazards was used to study the effects of chronotype on longevity after adjusting for sleep duration, age, gender, smoking, alcohol usage, general health, and social class. The survival analysis (82.6% censored by death) revealed that evening-type chronotype increased the likelihood of mortality (Hazard ratio = 1.15, 95%CI = 1.04/1.26, p = .005). Taken together, chronotype is influenced by aging and seasonal effects. Evening-type preference may have detrimental outcomes for human well-being and longevity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChronobiology International
Early online date22 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • sleep
  • chronotype
  • ageing
  • season of birth
  • seasonality
  • Metabolic health
  • Latent class analysis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Longevity

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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