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New Study Finds: An Early Bird Does Indeed Catch the Worm!

written by / June 13, 2021
Early Sleeping Schedule

A newly published study in the JAMA Psychiatry journal reveals that an early sleeping schedule might lower the risk of developing clinical depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MMD).

In it, the researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Broad Institute of MIT, and Harvard University studied no less than 840,000 medical and genetic records of Europeans.

Before tracking mood disorder diagnoses, they determined the participants’ chronotype (individual biological rhythm) in three different ways. 

First, they evaluated more than 340 gene variants of the so-called clock gene and then compared the data with answers from sleep questionnaires and figures from portable sleep trackers.

What’s more, the results showed a clear connection between early rising and the reduced likelihood of developing depression.

In other words, if a person wakes up one hour earlier, the risk of MMD drops by 23%. Likewise, for those who woke up 2 hours earlier, the chances further decreased by an amazing 40%!

Needless to say, this is good news for around 300 million people around the world that suffer from clinical depression. 

Nevertheless, researchers still don’t fully understand why this happens and whether the link is bidirectional.

If the answer is yes, this would mean that “early birds” are simply naturally blessed with a lower MMD incidence due to the overlapping of genes (internal clock vs depression).

Still, there’s yet another theory — the daylight hypothesis. This theory is based on a study that focuses on reduced daylight exposure and the effect it has on frequent mood disorders. 

So, is it really that easy to escape the mad clutches of depression? Is going to bed and waking up earlier all there is to it?

Whatever the case, you should definitely give it a try! You can even use some life hacks to give yourself a head start, such as placing a timer on your adjustable bed.

The study also shows that a good sleeping schedule goes a long way! And the best part? It doesn’t even matter whether you sleep on a cheap mattress or a more luxurious one, the mental health benefits are there.

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”

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