Depression may be the most common mental disorder, but exactly what causes depression is still unknown. Researchers have found that the time of day may affect depression risk more than previously thought.
For example, psychiatrists already believe that people with bipolar disorder tend to experience mania during late nights and depression during early mornings. As reported by CNBC, a study published on National Library of Medicine suggests that waking up one hour earlier reduces the chances of developing depressive symptoms or mood disorders.
The findings were part of a larger study involving over 800,000 people. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. used data to link sleep schedules with depressive symptoms, which included insomnia and other commonly associated issues like stress and fatigue.
Despite finding no direct correlation between sleep and mental health, the researchers documented a strong association between waking up earlier and reduced risks of depressive symptoms. With an increased prevalence of depression reported by mental health professionals like psychiatrists and therapists, this latest study provides additional insight into how medication – rather than targeting the root cause – can help manage symptoms.
Previous studies have found variation in depression rates given different societal factors; for example, research has shown that people who wake up earlier have better health and much reduced risks of depression. With this latest finding, researchers hope to curb depression symptoms with an early morning routine rather than medication.
Focusing on healthier habits like exercise and diet could also reduce risks, but sunrise schedules remain one of the most reliable factors associated with reduced risks of depression symptoms in these findings. A previous study published by the same team of University of Colorado Boulder, researchers found that getting up earlier can actually improve your sleep quality and make you less prone to depression. For this study, researchers recruited over 32,000 female nurses who were asked about their lifestyle choices and mental health history over a four years period. The findings revealed that the nurses who woke up one hour earlier had a 27 percent less chance of experiencing depression symptoms than those who didn’t get up early.
The study also confirmed previous research that people who stay up late at night and sleep during the day tend to experience symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. Researchers believe that this result might be due to malfunctioning circadian rhythms, known colloquially as body clocks, which regulate processes like hormone secretion and body temperature throughout the day.
Another related factor linked with depression is lack of sunlight or UV rays; generally speaking, most individuals get more exposure to the sun when they wake up earlier than when they return home from work in the evening hours. As a result, researchers hope employers across all industries can use their findings to support employees’ mental health and well-being in the workplace.
A third recent study has linked depression symptoms to sleeping problems in the elderly. According to the study which was published at the Journal of General and Family Medicine researchers found that elderly people with sleep disturbances are more likely to experience depression related symptoms compared to their counterparts who sleep better.
With this latest study, researchers have moved away from looking at depressive symptoms only during certain times of the day or within one demographic group. Instead, they hope these findings can open up further research into other factors related to depression symptoms across all groups, including men and women living in different regions or experiencing other mental health disorders like anxiety.
As depression awareness continues to rise, it’s become increasingly important for individuals struggling with symptoms or mood disorders to explore tools that can help them cope. Holistic therapies like yoga and meditation have been found to be helpful for some patients. Virtual Reality is also believed to be able to improve mental health but maintaining a regular sleep schedule can also go a long way toward reducing depressive symptoms. A few more tools that can help in coping with mood disorders include;
Making a gratitude list: Spending 10 minutes each morning thinking about things you are grateful for can improve your mood for the entire day. Also, make sure you go to bed thinking about what made you happy that day
- Jotting down negative thoughts: Writing down negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then ripping it up can help release them from your mind
- Practicing deep breathing exercises: Taking deep breaths while counting to five, holding your breath for five seconds, then exhaling slowly can relax both mind and body
- Writing about what makes you happy in a journal: Spend time each day writing down things that make you happy
- Spending 20 minutes in the sunshine every day: Getting exposed to sunlight, even if it’s through a window, can boost serotonin levels within the brain. If you struggle to find time for the sunshine because of piles of assignments if you are a student, you may consider getting the services of a UK essay writing service. They can handle your assignment needs as do the necessary adjustments to take care of your mental health.
- Exercising regularly either at home or outside: You can join group sports activities or hire a trainer to help you work out. Also, a brisk walk and jogging for 20 minutes each day can help reduce depressive symptoms
- Reducing your caffeine intake: Caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and stress, so drink less coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and alcohol.
- Reducing or eliminating smoking from your life: Tobacco smoke has been linked to an increased risk of clinical depression as well as sleep apnea, which is a condition characterized by disrupted breathing during slumber.
Please, note: For individuals struggling with depression, it’s important to consult a doctor before taking any supplements or making any changes to your lifestyle. However, if you’re already under the care of a physician, these findings may help support better sleeping habits and positively impact mood.
The Bottom Line
Fighting depression isn’t easy, but taking steps to avoid isolation and routinely practicing healthy habits like a better sleep schedule can work wonders. As a general rule, the more you focus on your mental health, the easier it will become to feel happy and confident throughout the day. If you think you may be suffering from depression symptoms, please consult with a medical professional today. They will assess your symptoms and then create a personalized treatment plan that can help reduce depressive symptoms.
Sherri Carrier worked with different paper writing services for more than four years, she is an experienced essay writer and a member of a myriad of New York-based writing clubs. Other than providing Australian Writings, she is also a poet who is inspired by the people close to her and favorite writers.