Staying up past midnight may be linked to negative thoughts, suicide and unhealthy eating habits

Staying up past midnight may be linked to negative thoughts, suicide and unhealthy eating habits. Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

Staying awake is part of many people’s daily routine, watching social media on mobiles, watching a movie, working and other activities preventing them from getting an early night sleep. Experts say this has negative effects on health.  

Scientists warn that humans are not meant to be awake after midnight, a recent study by Frontiers in Network Physiology suggests that when humans are awake after midnight, neurophysiological changes in the brain lead to more negative outcomes and destructive behaviours.  

Evidence suggests that the human mind functions differently if it is awake at night, where negative emotions tend to attract more attention than positive ones, dangerous ideas become more attractive and inhibitions disappear.  

According to Harvard University neurologist Elizabeth Klerman,”there are millions of people who are awake at midnight, and there is evidence that their brains do not function as well as they do during the day”. As reported in DW.

In addition, Klerman says bodies produce more dopamine at night, which can change reward and motivation system that may cause people to engage in risky behaviours. Humans also tend to make less healthy food choices after midnight and take more risks, leading to injury and economic loss. Including suicide or self-harm, violent crime, gambling, alcohol and substance use.    

Klerman claims that the influence of circadian rhythm on brain activities changes over the course of 24 hours, affecting the way humans process experiences and respond to external factors. During the day humans respond more positively as the circadian influence peaks in the morning and then reaches its lowest point at night. 

The research suggests, the simplest solution would be to help vulnerable individuals sleep through the night and in doing so, reduce their exposure to the hours of greatest risk.  


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Written by

Rocio Flores

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