Biopsychosocial Blog

“Clear your mind, transform your body, nourish your spirit.”

Mind Body and Spirit

The Late Night Blues

I can’t believe it took this long to really understand the importance of recuperative sleep.  I have always been more of an Early Bird than a Night Owl, and this is mainly driven by genetics. Each chronotype has its pros and cons, but a large study suggests that people who go to bed early and wake up early have a surprising advantage over late sleepers-a lower risk of clinical depression (JAMA Psychiatry). I’ve been tracking my sleep with my Fitbit and phone App which gives me precise measurements of Deep, REM, Light, Awake times.  Whoah! When I get 7.5-8 hours of sleep, the contrast with a lack of sleep is unbelievable. I feel more optimal, energetic, focused, and most importantly; my stress levels and tendency towards anxiety and depression are non-existent.

In this study, 840,000 persons were analyzed, measuring gene variants associated with diurnal preference (late sleepers, early sleepers).  Those whose sleep midpoint (the half-way point between going to sleep and waking up) fell earlier in the night were at a significantly lower risk of depression from those whose midpoint fell later. Overall, the risk dropped 23% with each hour.  Reduced sunlight may be the cause. 

If you are a Night Owl, don’t fret.   Move your bedtime up just 1 hour.  You will see a marked difference!   

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