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A Healthier You

Early risers ‘less likely to develop mental health problems’

01/29/2019

(The Guardian) – People who are naturally early risers are less likely to develop mental health problems than “night owls”, according to scientists.

A large-scale genetics study found being biologically programmed to wake up early is linked to greater happiness and a lower risk of schizophrenia and depression.

The scientists behind the work said evening types may be at greater risk from the mental toll of having to fight their natural body clock due to most schools and workplaces having early start times.

Prof Mike Weedon, who led the research at the University of Exeter, said: “The large number of people in our study means we have provided the strongest evidence to date that ‘night owls’ are at higher risk of mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and lower mental wellbeing, although further studies are needed to fully understand this link.”

The study used genetics data from 250,000 research participants signed up to the private genetics company 23andMe, and 450,000 people in the UK Biobank study. Participants were asked whether they were a “morning person” or an “evening person”, and their genomes were analysed, revealing certain genes people shared that appeared to influence sleep patterns.

The latest findings increase the number of areas of the genome known to influence whether someone is an early riser from 24 to 351.

“This study highlights a large number of genes which can be studied in more detail to work out how different people can have different body clocks,” said Weedon.

Read the full story at theguardian.com


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