Wake up an Hour Early to Lower Depression Risk

Portrait of sleepy young man yawning and looking at mirror in bathroom in morning, side view. Trying to wake up. Lack of sleep, insomnia and stressful lifestyle. Hangover. depression.According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, waking up an hour earlier than normal could reduce the risk of major depression by 23%. This new genetic study is among the first to quantify just how much or little change is needed to influence mental health.

As people started to get their normal life back after the pandemic, it was recorded that lifestyles had changed. Working and attending school remotely started a trend that led many to shift to a later sleep schedule. These findings have important implications.


Senior author Celine Vetter 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.”

Genetic Associations

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT, and Harvard. It consisted of 840,000 people. To get a clear idea of sleep times and how it can be protective of health, researchers turned to data from the DNA testing company 23 and Me and the biomedical database UK Biobank. A method called “Mendelian randomization” was used to help decipher cause-and-effect using leveraged genetic associations.

Researchers assessed the genetic data on all participants, including 85,000 who had worn wearable sleep trackers for seven days, and 250,000 who filled out sleep-preference questionnaires. This was able to show how variants in genes influence when people sleep and when they wake up.

It was found that those with genetic variants which predispose them to be early risers also have a lower risk of depression. However, it was unclear if those who are already early risers could benefit from getting up even earlier. But for those who are not normally early risers, getting up just an hour earlier than normal could reduce the risk of depression by 23%.

For those wanting to get on an earlier sleep schedule, study author Vetter suggests “Keep your days bright and your nights dark. Have your morning coffee on the porch. Walk or ride your bike to work if you can and dim those electronics in the evening.”

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.



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