Night owls and depression

By Archive • Published: May 23rd, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Do you revel in the glow of the moon?

Know every late-night talk show … and the infomercials that follow them?

Do your mortal enemies include the alarm clock, too-chipper morning radio hosts and those pesky rays of sunshine that creep through your windows and assault your eyes?

Then, yep … you’re a night owl.

But a new study may have you questioning your late-night ways. Researchers in Brazil have found that night people tend to have outlooks a tad on the dark side, sort of like the black coffee they gulp to wake up in the morning.

The study examined about two-hundred people and showed that the average night owl tends to go to bed about an hour later than the average early bird. Despite this slim difference, night owls had three times more symptoms of depression than those who hit the sack earlier.

But trading in your night owl credentials to become a certified early bird may not be the only solution. Falling asleep sometime between these two extremes may actually be your best bet. According to the study, people who fell into this category were five times less likely to exhibit symptoms of depression than late-nighters.

Of course, researchers don’t actually know if later bedtimes lead to depression. Depressed people often struggle with sleep, which could skew research results.

If you’re a night owl looking to hit the hay a little earlier, there are a few tips to help you squeeze in a few more Z’s. First off, avoid watching TV or staring at your phone before bed. Second, stave off caffeinated beverages too close to bedtime. Studies have also shown that getting up at the same time everyday can help you fall asleep easier at night.

Who knows? Your bedtime could be a product of genetics, too. Perhaps, some people are meant to worship the sun while others are built for the nightlife.