Don't challenge your biological clock! If you go to bed too late you risk this newly discovered side effect

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Getting up early in the morning - and going to bed earlier - makes you happier, staves off depression, and improves our well-being

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Getting up early in the morning - and, consequently, going to bed earlier - makes you happier, wards off depression, and improves our overall well-being. This is what emerges from a study.

The pandemic, lockdown and so-called 'agile work' have made our schedules more flexible and, in many cases, completely disrupted our biological clock - leading to imbalances in the sleep-wake rhythm that have amplified conditions of anxiety and insomnia. Researchers at the University of Exeter conducted a study on sleep patterns and found that being genetically predisposed to get up early in the morning improves one's well-being and protects against the onset of depression.

The team worked on the basis of a previous study that mapped 351 genes related to the predisposition of each of us to be an 'early riser' or an 'owl' (i.e. a person who is more productive at night, but who prefers to sleep in the morning). . For this study, a statistical process called Mendelian Randomization was used to examine whether the presence or absence of these genes has an influence on mental health and the onset of diseases such as depression. However, in addition to genetic information, the survey participants also provided information about their biological clock and whether they considered themselves more early risers or more night owls.

(Read: A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables against women's depression)

We have noticed that people who live out of alignment with their biological clock are more prone to suffering from depression and having health problems. Jessica O’Loughlin, author of the study. - We also had evidence that being a morning person protects against the risk of depression and improves overall health. We believe that this is due to the fact that the society we live in imposes work rhythms that take place starting from early in the morning, and this means that the 'owl people' are forced to upset their biological rhythms, being forced to get up early to go to work. Instead, morning people are more likely to be aligned with their biological clock.

The Covid-19 epidemic has introduced a new flexibility in work patterns for many people around the world - explains the doctor again. Jessica Tyrrell. - This study shows that aligning the work schedule to one's biological clock can improve mental health even in 'owl people'.

Source: Molecular Psychiatry

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