Switch Up Your Sleep Time to Slash Your Depression Risk, Says Study

Shifting your snooze sessions by one hour could help prevent downswings.

Wesley Doyle |

Keeping your Slack status set to active outside of working hours may be the new staying late at the office, but for the sake of your mental health you should be putting in that extra time at the beginning of the day, not the end.

New research has found that shifting your sleep and wake-up times earlier by just one hour may reduce the risk of developing depression by almost a quarter. The study, carried out at University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, involving more than 840,000 people, found a link between earlier sleep patterns and a lower risk of depressive symptoms.

Related: Can’t Sleep? What You Should Not Be Doing That Sabotages Your Shuteye

Researchers found those who tended to stay up late could benefit by switching up their schedules, even if the actual amount of time spent asleep was the same. The optimal wake-up time was 6am, with a solid seven hours’ sleep achieved. Suggested reasons include longer exposure to daylight, the hormonal benefits of which can elevate mood, plus the simple fact that it’s easier to spend more time on constructive pursuits – family, fitness, career – and less time reading Twitter threads at 10pm while finishing off the cabernet.

For some, rising at dawn will always be a flex. But think less in terms of hustle culture, and more about getting a head start on your to-do list so you can log off sooner. No wonder early risers seem so smug.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health UK.

READ MORE ON: depression mental health sleep

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