Are our night owl habits damaging our mental health?
Natural early risers are less likely to develop mental health problems than those who go to bed late and sleep in, according to a recent study.
We all know that a poor night’s kip can make us feel groggy and miserable in the morning – but the recent genetics study of 700,000 people, conducted at the University of Exeter and published in the Nature Communications journal, has revealed that certain genes can actually influence sleep patterns and our feelings.
Whether you’re a morning person or an evening person, statistics have uncovered a link between being a ‘night owl’ and being more prone to conditions such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia – with ‘evening people’ tending to be 10% more likely to develop the latter condition.
Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina, however, believes a good night’s sleep can help people to get over feelings of bitterness, paranoia, hopelessness, anger and frustration.
Dr Nerina has travelled the world meeting thousands of people with various sleep complaints and has developed a theory which gives a fascinating insight into how negative emotions such as grief and anger can be prevented with a good old fashioned snooze.
According to Dr Nerina, the first two hours of sleep we get each night are vital in rebalancing metabolism and reducing stress levels, but the sleep we get from 9pm-11pm can also help to rebalance feelings of hopelessness, confusion and paranoia. Between 11pm and 1am, our muscles then start to repair themselves, and feelings of bitterness and resentment are gradually alleviated.
She said: “As part of my study into sleep I have researched Eastern and Western sciences which offer ways of looking at how we live our lives, and how sleep impacts our physical and emotional wellbeing. Both Eastern practices and Western science indicate that the different phases of deep sleep rebalance the mind and body in different ways, and missing out on certain stages of sleep can have negative consequences.
“Adrenal and thyroid problems tend to affect night owls as they miss out on the initial pre-midnight phase of sleep. They often find it hard to get up in the morning and feel groggy, and they often have difficulty concentrating during the day.
“Between the hours of 1-3am our bodies are working to rebalance our feelings of fear, anger, frustration and rage, so experiencing sleep disturbances in these vital hours can have a detrimental effect on our mood the following day.
“Those suffering with depression typically wake in the early hours and miss their 3-5am sleep which is vital for rebalancing sadness and grief.”
The final deep sleep phase, which takes place between the hours of 3am and 5am, releases toxic waste from lungs, hence the reason why smokers tend to cough in the morning. The final deep phase is also vital in alleviating feelings of grief and sadness.
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