Do night owls have a higher chance of getting depressed?

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Page last updated: 28/10/2022

Do night owls have a higher chance of getting depressed?

This article will center around the chances of people that are night owls becoming depressed. It will explain why being an owl can be bad for your mental health, and what are ways to cope with it.

Do night owls have a higher chance of getting depressed? 

Yes, people that are considered night owls have a higher chance of getting depressed than people that have the habit of sleeping earlier and are more adjusted to the social norm schedule.

Some researchers have discussed this matter, and it seems there is still a lot to be discovered. But it seems that there is a genetic disposition about the time you sleep and wake up. This showed how people’s brains will react differently to external light signals, and how differently their internal clockworks.

One research monitored around 85 thousand people with a wristband to observe if they were night owls or morning people. A night owl is a person that will usually go to bed after midnight, and a morning person would be someone that usually starts yawning as soon as the sun goes down. 

The first thing that was observed is that the sleep quality of the participants didn’t change a lot, what changed was the time.

And through that, there was a link between being a night owl, and a higher chance of developing depression. What was discovered is that the higher the genetic disposition of a person being a night owl, the higher the chance of getting depressed, and of having lower well-being. 

But it seems the quality of the person’s sleep doesn’t influence this. 

And even though there is no clear reason as to why sleeping late can make it easier for you to get depressed, the researchers established that there are some possibilities. Here is what they considered.

Exposure to sunlight

It can be that night owls can become depressed easier due to something quite common during winter: the lack of exposure to sunlight. Being a night owl can lead you to a similar condition as the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a condition that changes your mood due to the low exposure to sunlight.

Problems in the circadian rhythm

Another matter that seems to be intimately related to why night owls would get depressed easier is the way society works. We are all living in a world that works in a 9 to 5 rhythm, but for night owls obeying that order can be difficult. And to function in society, they are most likely getting less sleep than what they need.

If a night owl person sleeps around 2 in the morning and needs to be at work at 9 am, the chances are that they are sleeping a lot less than the 7 to 9 hours that are usually recommended. And over time that can affect their immune system, their cognitive functions, and their mood, leading to depression.

Do night owls have a higher chance of getting depressed?

Social Jet Lag

People that are night owls will also have more of a social Jet Lag. This means that they will have a different sleep routine over the weekend than they do on the weekdays. 

When you are a morning person, you usually wake up around the same time every day, but night owls usually take weekend mornings to sleep in. Making it even harder for them to function, during the week, on that 9 to 5 routine.

But if you feel that being a night owl has been taking a toll on your mental health, know that there are some ways you can try to improve your sleep, and with that, your mental health.

What can night owls do to avoid depression? 

What research shows is that sleeping too late can lead you to become depressed. So if you want to try to sleep a little earlier, know that there are some things you can do to help yourself. The first thing you could consider doing is getting in touch with a sleep consultant.

They will help you understand your routine better, and try to figure out why it is so difficult for you to sleep earlier. They will try to set a new routine for you, to try to change a little of your bedtime habits.

Aside from that, if getting a consultant is not a possibility for you, managing your late afternoon and night routine can help you a little. The first thing is to avoid stimulants by the middle of the afternoon. 

Stay away from coffee, energy drinks, and other things that can be fueled with caffeine. Those will stay in your system for a few hours which can make it harder for you to fall asleep.

Some people choose to exercise at night time, and while for some, it can wear them out, and they feel like they will sleep better, others can feel more awake afterward. If that is your case, and you are a night owl, you should try to avoid working out during the night.

What you should do, as you get home, is trying to have a light dinner, and even if you can’t sleep earlier, try to make your night routine more soothing. Stay away from phones and other technologies. Rather than that, use the night to take a warm, calming bath. 

You can also prepare your room to be a place you can relax. Put on a light dimmer, or have a light that is not so bright on your nightstand. And try to read something with lower light. 

You can also try to practice mindfulness, or other forms of meditation in the nighttime, which can help you relax, and leave the day that just ended behind you.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t sleep right away, little by little you can begin to find it easier to sleep earlier. Or if anything, you will feel a little more relaxed the next day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Do night owls have a higher chance of getting depressed? 

Are night owls smarter? 

Research has shown that people that deviate from the common evolutionary trait, such as the circadian rhythm we usually have, that lead us to wake up earlier, can have higher IQ. They also have a higher chance of developing creative breakthroughs.

This is because people that sleep late can most likely have more free time since they won’t get out of work and go straight to bed. This will give them time for their minds to wander. Which is the perfect ground for creativity to happen. 

Because you might be tired of the day, your mind will also have less of a problem with letting your thoughts just find their way, which can lead you to experience a pure imaginative state.

Can age change my circadian rhythm?

Yes, your circadian rhythm will most likely change with aging. You can be a night owl now, but you should keep in mind that your circadian rhythm is constantly changing. Teenagers usually are night owls, as elderly people, tend to sleep and wake up early.

Having in mind that it will change, can help you accept the moment you are in. But try to be alert to notice if your sleep patterns are harming your mental health, so you can do something about it.

What country wakes up the earliest? 

Research has found that South Africans are the ones that wake up the earliest. The research traced the sleeping and waking hours of 941,329 people all over the planet that shared their time voluntarily through an app.

In that, it was shown that South Africans usually wake up around 6:24 am, but they also go to bed late, around 00:20 am. This means they usually sleep around 6 hours each night.

The country that sleeps the latest was Poland, where people will usually go to bed around 00:55 am. The research also showed that people all over the world usually sleep a lot more on Saturdays. And that on Sunday mornings is the day when people wake up the happiest.

What are signs of high IQ? 

If you are suspecting you, or someone you know may have a high IQ, there are some positive and negative signs you should pay attention to. As for the positive, the first thing to look for is if they have a good memory and good thinking ability.

Another sign of high IQ is being a person with a good attitude, and that is usually open to doing hard work. People with high IQ will also not only be good at technical knowledge, but they will also be good at tacit knowledge, which means they can understand things even when they are not said out loud.

They will also be great at learning languages and have great problem-solving skills. Aside from that, their decision-making skill works well. They know how to consider all aspects, and are good at looking at the global and local aspects of things. 

They can be extremely creative people. And this doesn’t mean that they will do art, but rather that they can create something new. Because of that, they usually are trusted by others, and will most likely have great achievements in their lifetime.

They are also people that are in tune with their intuition, and because of that, can find it easier to solve problems. But there are also negative signs to look for to determine if someone has a high IQ. The first one is that they have a higher chance of developing mental illness. It seems this is because they tend to overthink too much about things.

They can also become too anxious about how they will perform in things. Having a romantic relationship can also be harder for them, that is because it seems people will assume being too intelligent will affect their social skills. And finally, they may have trouble controlling their impulses.

How can I become a morning person?

If you want to become a morning person the first thing to do is to practice good sleep hygiene. You should try to have a nighttime routine as well, which will be a soothing and relaxing one. And little by little try to go to sleep earlier.

Create a morning routine for yourself, this will help you when you wake up. And use light in the morning to show you it is time to wake up. You should also be careful with your meal times, so you should eat earlier if you are going to bed earlier, and with your coffee intake.

Conclusion 

This article showed that night owl have a higher chance of becoming depressed when compared to other people. It explained why this happens, and what are ways they can cope with it.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://www.livescience.com/64628-night-owl-mental-health.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/07/health/night-owl-depression-link-wellness/index.html