Recent research has revealed that setting your alarm to wake you up one hour earlier could help reduce the risk of major depression by 23 per cent.
The Daily Mail reports that teams working together from three different institutions - the University of Colorado Boulder, the Broad Institute of MIT, and Harvard, developed a genetics-based study involving questionnaires and the use of sleep tracking devices.
The study looked at data from 840,000 individuals and suggested just how much or how little change is needed to influence our mental health.
It is thought that as people emerge from lockdown, and for some the enforced changes to their sleeping habits and routines during the lockdown, these findings could have important implications.
Professor Celine Vetter, an assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder, said: “We have known for some time that there is a relationship between sleep timing and mood, but a question we often hear from clinicians is: How much earlier do we need to shift people to see a benefit?
“We found that even one-hour earlier sleep timing is associated with significantly lower risk of depression.”
Previous observational studies showed that night owls are twice as much at risk of developing depression than early risers, regardless of how much they sleep.
However, as mood disorders can disrupt sleep patterns, the researchers have had a hard time deciphering exactly what causes what.
This study offers some of the strongest evidence yet that chronotype - a person's propensity to sleep at a certain time - influences depression risk.
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