After studying 840,000 people, the researchers 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 too.
They say more research is needed, but I find this to be encouraging news for late sleepers who also have depression.
For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at email@example.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.