Study Finds That People Living In Western Side Of Time Zones Make Less Money, Have Higher Rates Of Obesity

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Want to make more money, get better sleep, and improve your general health? Then you may want to try moving a bit eastward.

A new study found that people who live in the western portion of time zones tend to go to bed later and get less sleep than their eastern counterparts, resulting in worse health and lower overall earnings for the western residents. As the Daily Mail reported, the study from the University of Pittsburgh and Universita della Svizzera found a direct link between where a person lives in relation to their time zone and factors like obesity and disease.

As the study noted, people who live in the western portion of time zones tend to go to bed later, as there are more daylight hours closer to the edge of the time zone.

“But the new study, published in the Journal of Health Economics, suggests that more minute differences in our days and schedules can shape our sleep schedules and health outcomes,” the Daily Mail report noted. “Moving westward, the sun sets later and later into the day, and even sets later within the time zone.”

“So within a single time zone, the sun sets a over an hour earlier on the east side than on the west side.”

The differences were not large on a daily basis, with residents in eastern portion of time zones going to bed close to 20 minutes earlier than those in the west. But the study noted that this adds up to roughly 113 hours of sleep lost each year for those living in the part of the time zone where the sun is out later.

As a result, obesity was 21 percent more common among those living in the western portion and rates of heart attack, diabetes, and breast cancer were all higher as well. Wages for those living in the west were about 3 percent lower than people living in the eastern sides of the time zones, the report found.

There are other factors at play, the report noted. Experts say that artificial lighting has made it more difficult to get the sleep they need.

This is not the first study that has found a link between the hours of sleep a person gets each night to their productivity on the job. A 2016 study by Rand Europe found that one-third of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep each night, which leads to a loss in productivity at work of roughly $226 billion each year.