Late sleepers at higher risk of depression than early risers. Here's what you can do about it
When temps drop and days shorten in the fall, are you temped to hibernate and stay in bed a little longer? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares what experts now know about a possible connection between how early you wake up and your risk of depression.
ROCHESTER — Night owls, listen up. A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry shows waking up just one hour earlier may reduce your risk of major depression by 23%.
After studying 840,000 people, the researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard found that a person's chronotype — that's your tendency to sleep at a certain time — influences depression risk. They say it's one of the first studies to quantify just how much — or how little — change is needed to influence mental health.
The researchers wanted to find out 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, if you normally go to bed at 1 a.m. and shift your bedtime to midnight, you could decrease your risk of depression by 23% by waking up one hour earlier. And if you wake up two hours earlier, you may reduce your risk by up to 40%. Note that you can still sleep as long as you normally do by shifting your bedtime earlier.
They say more research is needed, but this may be encouraging news for late sleepers who also have depression.
Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.