It turns out early to bed, early to rise may be especially good advice for women.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that middle-aged women who go to bed and wake up earlier are less prone to depression than others in the same age group.

“This could be related to the overlap in genetic pathways associated with chronotype [sleep-wake preference] and mood,” says lead author Céline Vetter, director of the Circadian and Sleep Epidemiology Laboratory at CU Boulder.

The women in the study were followed for four years to see who developed depression. Depression risk factors like body weight, physical activity, chronic disease, sleep duration, or night shift work were also evaluated.

Night owls shouldn't necessarily worry about developing depression though since chronotype only has a “small effect” on one’s risk, notes Vetter. Still, for those who worry they're headed in that direction, she recommends working to become an early bird. One way to help accomplish this is by dimming the lights in your home at night and getting as much natural light as possible during the day.

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