OK, now I’m really going to try and change my night owl habits. A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry shows that waking up an hour earlier can reduce your risk of major depression by 23%.
After studying 840,000 people, the researchers found that a person’s chronotype – that is, your tendency to sleep at a certain time – influences the risk of depression. They say it’s one of the first studies to quantify how much – or how much – change is needed to influence mental health.
The researchers wanted to know if people with genetic variants that predispose them to be early risers also have a lower risk of depression. The answer was yes. They say this means, for example, that if you normally go to bed at 1 a.m. and shift your bedtime to midnight, you could reduce your risk of depression by 23% by waking up an hour earlier. And if you wake up two hours earlier, you can reduce your risk by up to 40%. Note that you can still sleep as long as you normally do by also shifting the bedtime earlier.
They say more research is needed, but I find this is encouraging news for late sleepers who also suffer from depression.
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