Waking up earlier reduces the chance of depression by 23%

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Ricky Joseph

We have known for many years that the quality and duration of sleep directly affect our psychological condition. More recently, research has shown that the constancy and timing of sleep also has an effect on mood. Accordingly, new research from the University of Colorado has shown that waking up earlier can reduce the risk of depression by 23%.

The research, done in partnership with MIT and Harvard University used online databases to quantify the sleep of the British and American population. To do this, the authors used data from the UK Biobank and the company 23 and me, which carries out genetic tests. With these tools, the research had access to sleep data of over 850,000 individuals.

Of these, 85,000 had sleep monitoring data and 250,000 answered questions about sleep preferences. With this information, the researchers used a Mendelian randomization technique to assess the genetic effect on individuals' sleep patterns.

Waking up and going to bed an hour earlier can reduce the chance of depression by up to 23%. Image: Tati Halabi/Pixabay

Furthermore, of these 850,000 individuals, a little more than 33% identified themselves as early risers. Another 9% preferred to wake up early, while the rest were in between, with varied or not so extreme sleep schedules. From this, the researchers were able to conclude that waking up earlier could reduce the risk of depression by 23%.

Does waking up earlier for those who already wake up early help?

According to the research, those who sleep late and wake up late can benefit more profoundly from the effects of a change in sleep schedule. For example, someone who sleeps at 1 a.m. can reduce the chance of depression by 23% by sleeping at midnight. By going to sleep at 11 p.m., the risk falls by 40% in this same situation, maintaining the total duration of sleep.

However, the researchers did not identify significant effects in individuals who already wake up early. For example, if you wake up at 5:30, waking up at 4:30 will probably not bring the same effect on your mental health as in the aforementioned case.

Image: StockSnap/Pixabay

The researchers further state that modern society - including work schedules - is structured for people who wake up early. This makes individuals who sleep later feel out of place, which can have a severe impact on the chance of psychological conditions.

To avoid these problems, then, Celine Vetter (senior author of the article) states that it is important to maintain the regulation of light one receives throughout the day. According to the researcher, one must keep the days bright and the nights dark in order to avoid disturbances in the circadian cycle.

The article is available in the journal JAMA Network.

Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.