Improving Sleep Habits within 6 Weeks: Achieving a Positive Impact on Mental Well-being through Early Bedtime and Early Rising with 3 Key Practices

Improving Sleep Habits within 6 Weeks: Achieving a Positive Impact on Mental Well-being through Early Bedtime and Early Rising with 3 Key Practices

Are You a Night Owl? Latest Research Shows Early to Bed and Early to Rise Reduces Depression and Anxiety

Whether out of necessity or choice, recent studies indicate that maintaining a regular sleep schedule with early bedtime and early rising can significantly reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Experts advise adults, even if unable to achieve a natural wake-up time every day, to prioritize 'consistent sleep.' For adults looking to change their sleep habits, experts propose three key practices to help adjust sleep patterns, transforming night owls into early birds within six weeks.

A study published in the neuroscience journal 'Molecular Psychiatry' by the University of Exeter in the UK surveyed the sleep patterns of 450,000 middle-aged participants. The results revealed that those waking up earliest experienced the lowest levels of depression and anxiety, while the opposite was true for night owls.

Lead researcher Jessica O'Loughlin explained that the team analyzed 351 genes related to early rising or night owl tendencies. By applying statistical models to 450,000 middle-aged participants from the UK Biobank, they confirmed whether these genes had causal relationships with seven mental health conditions, including severe depression.

Additionally, the team created a comprehensive sleep questionnaire. The conclusion indicated that individuals with early rising genes experienced an 8% reduction in the severity of depression compared to other groups.

Irregular sleep times can diminish happiness

O'Loughlin suggested that over time, as sleep patterns become ingrained in DNA, societal norms have shaped the conventional 9-to-5 work schedule, favoring early risers. On the contrary, whether by choice or due to late-night shifts, disruptions to the natural wake-up pattern can lead to both physical and mental fatigue, resulting in feelings of unhappiness.

She explained that inconsistent sleep times confuse the body and brain, making it challenging to determine when to sleep or wake up. This confusion can lead to irregular insomnia, alternating between periods of insufficient and excessive sleep, ultimately affecting one's attitude towards life and diminishing happiness.

Can't achieve a natural wake-up time? Focus on regular sleep

While adapting to a natural wake-up pattern is ideal, it is often challenging in real life. Raj Dasgupta, a sleep expert from the University of Southern California, emphasizes the importance of avoiding frequent shifts between different sleep times. Moderately consistent sleep is more beneficial for the body than chaotic alternations.

Research: Achieve 3 Key Practices for Improved Sleep within 6 Weeks

For adults wanting to establish regular sleep and wake times, a 2019 experiment offers three key recommendations. By following these practices, individuals can improve their sleep patterns within six weeks, transitioning from night owls to healthy early risers:

1. Modify dietary habits

Consume breakfast promptly upon waking, and aim to have regular lunch and dinner times, especially avoiding meals after 7 p.m. Avoid caffeine intake after 3 p.m.

2. Gradually advance bedtime

Initiate a bedtime routine by setting the clock back by 2-3 hours initially, understanding that both physiological and psychological adaptation may take some time. Even on weekends, bedtime should not be delayed more than 30 minutes compared to weekdays.

3. Regular exercise

Engage in daily activities such as walking, cycling, or other aerobic exercises for at least 10 minutes, preferably scheduled in the morning to benefit from ample sunlight. This helps trigger the release of serotonin, commonly known as the 'happy hormone,' keeping the mind alert and emotions stable.

Results from the 2019 experiment show that even night owls can adjust their sleep patterns to become early risers within 3 to 6 weeks by consciously incorporating these three lifestyle adjustments. The additional benefit is an improvement in self-perception, increased happiness, and a simultaneous reduction in depression and stress.


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