We're generally of the opinion that death is best left a mystery. Why dwell on some weird Final Destination scenario when there's no way of knowing for sure when and how you'll go? Right? Well, sorta.
Turns out, your death might be easier to predict than you think. A new study based on 15 years of data suggests that, based on genetic predisposition to various ciracadian clocks (your body's natural tendencies regarding sleep cycles), your most likely time of death can actually be predicted well ahead of time. But there's one condition — the predictability may depend on technology. Not how you use it, but what happens when you eventually stop using it.
In this study, technology use is basically a synonym with highly socialized living. The things you do with your gadgets keep you on the same schedule as everyone else: Your alarm clock wakes you up for work around the same hour as your desk mates, you plan nights out that will begin and end around the schedules of your friends, you watch your favorite late-night show before you go to sleep at a reasonable hour to rest up before work. But, as we age and, more importantly, retire, we withdraw from this rigid schedule. While retirees may keep up an active social life, with the absence of the work week's forced schedule, it's much easier to live in harmony with your body's natural rhythms.
Those natural rhythms are determined by genetics, of course. Basically, we break down into two genetic types: Those who rise early and those who don't. Among those who do get up early, there's a subset who share a gene marker with the late risers, but their behavior more closely mimics the early birds. And your body's sleep schedule also determines what times of the day your brain will be functioning best — and when it will be running on empty. That, in turn, can have a very real effect on when you succumb to a natural cause of death.
Not a morning person? Well, there's some good news for you here. The early-to-rise genetic groups in this study were more likely to die earlier in the day, with 11 a.m. as the most common hour. On the other hand, the late risers' most common hour of death was 6 p.m., although the results were less clustered in their case. So, the early bird might get the worm, but the lazy bones of the world are getting an extra few hours...not really what we'd call a silver lining, but we'll take what we can get. (The Atlantic)