Studies Show: Early Risers Benefit Emotionally

Do you prefer to stay up late or wake up early? Consider your answer to this question. It could explain why you are more prone to depressive symptoms than your friends. 

If you are anything like me, you enjoy the hours between 10 pm and 1 am. I spend these hours typing away at my keyboard or obsessively reading a new book. On occasion, I go for a late-night run. During my less productive phases, I binge-watch my favorite show on Netflix. 

No matter what I am doing, I find it impossible to force myself to lay down before 12 am. If I do, by chance, lay my head on my pillow before midnight, I lay there wide awake for over an hour. I can’t seem to help it. I am a night owl and I love it. 

Night Owls Suffer from Depressive Symptoms

Those of us who stay up late are more likely to develop depressive symptoms. It is important to understand that our sleeping patterns affect us. They impact our emotions, daily activity, and psychological state. Doctors recommend that we sleep eight hours per night to ensure our own well-being. 

Night owls may suffer from depressive symptoms because they are up late and do not sleep a full eight hours per night. But, a recent study found that regardless of how much sleep a night owl gets, they are still more likely to suffer from depression than an early riser. 

Genetic Disposition Determines our Sleeping Preference

Our genetic makeup is the primary culprit in determining our chronotype or circadian typology. This means that we are genetically predisposed to become night owls or early risers. Genetics also dictate how susceptible we are to depression and other forms of mental illness. 

Yet, the nature vs nurture debate may argue that we learn our sleeping patterns. We may have picked up on the sleeping patterns of our parents. But it is more likely that we nurtured our own unhealthy sleeping patterns. Regardless of the reasoning, there is a strong correlation between depression and late nights. 

Wake Up Earlier- You’ll Be Happy You Did

The recent study of 840,000 people published in JAMA Psychiatry, specifies that adjusting our sleep patterns to allow us to wake up one hour earlier reduces our risk of developing depression by 23%. This study is the first to indicate that there may be something found in the human genome that can predict our chronotype and protect us from depression. 

Though genetics may predetermine our sleeping patterns, it is not too late to adapt and teach our bodies to operate on a new and healthier sleeping pattern. After all, what are alarms for?

Tips to Shift Sleeping Pattern

Reducing the risk of serious depression by 23% is a significant benefit of waking up earlier. Other benefits include higher levels of energy, time to exercise in the morning, a greater number of daylight hours, and higher levels of daily productivity. If you are considering a sleeping pattern shift, try out the following tips.

  1. Increase Activity Levels during the Day
  1. Reduce Smoking, Alcohol, and Caffeine Consumption
  1. Cut Out Any Daytime Naps
  1. Schedule 8 Full Hours of Sleep
  1. Go to Bed at the Same Time Every Night
  1. Relax Before Bedtime

Published by alswartz

I am an aspiring novelist working on my first book. I have an interest in mental health and each of my works is related to mental health in some way.

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