You’ve heard about all the perks of being an early bird before, and it sounds great in theory, but realistically? It can seem impossible to make drastic changes in sleep habits and force yourself to be something you’re not. But even if you don’t consider yourself an early riser, take note: New research suggests it may be worth adjusting your sleep schedule pretty minimally-setting your alarm clock for just a bit earlier in the mornings-to help fend off depression and maintain a brighter, more balanced mood. The insight is especially helpful news if you’re prone to mood dips or bouts of depression, or if this mental health disorder runs in your family.
And nothing crazy, either-all it takes is waking about one hour earlier to decrease one’s depression risk, suggests the comprehensive genetic study, conducted by researchers at University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Scientists were able to gain new insights into concrete ways that individuals can actively change their sleep habits-or rather, their wakeup habits-in order to positively impact their own mental health. In other words: We all have more power than we think! And it doesn’t involve going to bed at 7 p.m. and waking up at 4:30 a.m. (unless that’s your thing, of course).