The early bird gets the worm – this saying may very well also apply to mental health.
Waking up an hour earlier could reduce the risk of depression by 23%, according to a study conducted by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Broad Institute, both in the United States, and published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Sleep and mood seem to be intricately connected.
Back in 2018, a study by University of Colorado psychologist Dr Celine Vetter showed that “early risers” were up to 27% less likely to develop depression within four years.
For this new study, the scientists examined the genetic data of 840,000 people.
Among them, 85,000 wore sleep trackers for seven days and 250,000 filled out questionnaires about their sleep preferences.
On average, those evaluated went to bed at 11pm, woke up at 6am and were at their sleep midpoint at 3am.
The researchers then matched these initial results with another sample that included genetic information, medical records and surveys of major depressive disorder diagnoses, all anonymously.
They concluded that people who were genetically predisposed to be “early risers” had a lower risk of depression.
Each sleep midpoint (halfway between bedtime and wake time) that was one hour earlier was associated with a 23% reduced risk of developing depression.
For example, if a person who normally goes to bed at 1am, goes to bed at midnight and sleeps for the same amount of time, they could reduce their risk by 23%.
If they go to bed at 11pm, they could reduce it by about 40%.
So researchers encourage going to bed “early” and offer some tips for a good night’s rest.
“Keep your days bright and your nights dark.
“Have your morning coffee on the porch.
“Walk or bike to work if you can, and dim those electronics in the evening.” – AFP Relaxnews
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