People whose sleep pattern goes against their natural body clock are more likely to have depression and lower levels of wellbeing, according to a largescale new study.
Lead author Jessica O'Loughlin, of the University of Exeter, said: "We found that people who were misaligned from their natural body clock were more likely to report depression, anxiety and have lower wellbeing. We also found the most robust evidence yet that being a morning person is protective of depression and improves wellbeing.
Overall, the research team found that morning people were more likely to be aligned to their natural body clock. They then tested the effect by looking at shift workers, and found that morningness may not be protective for depression in shift workers, meaning morning people who work shifts may not have improved mental health and wellbeing, however, this was inconclusive.
Senior author Dr. Jessica Tyrrell, of the University of Exeter, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new flexibility in working patterns for many people. Our research indicates that aligning working schedules to an individual's natural body clock may improve mental health and wellbeing in night owls."