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Late sleepers at higher risk of depression than early risers. Here's what you can do about it

When temps drop and days shorten in the fall, are you temped to hibernate and stay in bed a little longer? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares what experts now know about a possible connection between how early you wake up and your risk of depression.

Young man checking phone in bed
Hitting snooze and sleeping later may increase risk of depression for some people
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ROCHESTER — Night owls, listen up. A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry shows waking up just one hour earlier may reduce your risk of major depression by 23%.

After studying 840,000 people, the researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard found that a person's chronotype — that's your tendency to sleep at a certain time — influences depression risk. They say it's one of the first studies to quantify just how much — or how little — change is needed to influence mental health.

The researchers wanted to find out if people with genetic variants that predispose them to be early risers also have a lower risk of depression. The answer was yes. They say this means, for example, if you normally go to bed at 1 a.m. and shift your bedtime to midnight, you could decrease your risk of depression by 23% by waking up one hour earlier. And if you wake up two hours earlier, you may reduce your risk by up to 40%. Note that you can still sleep as long as you normally do by shifting your bedtime earlier.

They say more research is needed, but this may be encouraging news for late sleepers who also have depression.


Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.


What are your favorite holiday foods? In this NewsMD column, a local chef demonstrates his mother's amazing Christmas lasagna. And Viv Williams explores how holiday food traditions can be good for your health.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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