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Mind & Mood
Waking up one hour earlier than usual may reduce depression risk
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
In the journals
The saying goes that early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise. Recent research supports the first part by suggesting people who regularly wake up an hour earlier than usual, without sleeping less, may be able to reduce their risk of major depression. The results were published online May 26, 2021, by JAMA Psychiatry.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 840,000 people of European ancestry to look for common variants that influence a person’s chronotype, or sleeping time preference. From this, they were able to pinpoint those who were early and later risers. Next, the researchers identified those who had been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.
When they examined all this information, the investigators found that people who were genetically predisposed to getting up one hour earlier in the morning compared with later risers had a 23% lower risk of depression.
These results are consistent with another small study showing improvement in depression scores in people who actually shifted bedtime and wake time to one hour earlier than their usual routine.
These researchers acknowledged that a larger clinical trial is needed to determine if this intervention is truly significant.
Image: FilippoBacci/Getty Images
About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
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Depression is more than a passing bout of sadness or dejection, or feeling down in the dumps. It can leave you feeling continuously burdened and can sap the joy out of once-pleasurable activities. In Understanding Depression, find out how effective treatment can lighten your mood, strengthen your connections with loved ones, allow you to find satisfaction in interests and hobbies, and make you feel more like yourself again.
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