#0016 — Sleep shifting

Sleep shifting can reduce the risk of depression by more than 23%.


🛑 Problem

Sleep is closely linked to our mental health. Poor sleep can encourage mental health challenges, and mental health challenges can encourage poor sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.


✅ Solution

There’s a lot of ways to improve our sleep quality, but in this write up we are going to focus on sleep shifting because:

  • it’s a recent discovery.

  • the benefits are great compared to how simple it is.


💤 What is sleep shifting?

Sleep shifting: Going to sleep earlier so that you can wake up earlier.

A study of 840,000 people conducted by MIT discovered that sleep shifting can reduce the risk of depression by 23%.


🔎 How it works

Researchers believe that sleep shifting works because the person is exposed to more daylight during the day, and then spends less time awake during the night. Greater light exposure during the day has been shown to improve moods. "Keep your days bright and your nights dark" says lead researcher Iyas Daghlas.


🔬More research

In 2018, The University of Colorado Boulder published a long term study of 32,000 nurses showing that "early risers" were up to 27% less likely to develop depression.

Another study examined half a million participants from ages 30 to 73 and followed what happened to them over 6.5 years. Researchers discovered that “night owls” were more likely to develop diabetes, neurological and psychological disorders and are 10% more likely to die prematurely than morning people.


✍️ Try now

What time do you normally fall asleep? Most people will want to fall asleep 1 - 2 hours earlier to see the benefits of sleep shifting. You can make this transition easier by going to bed 15 minutes earlier on the first night, and then go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night after that, until you reach your 1 - 2 hour goal.

Right now you can make this habit more likely to stick if you generate a small win for yourself, such as updating the alarm in your phone or setting a reminder.


🌆 Conclusion

Sleep can make or break our mental health. It’s in our best interest to embrace our natural rhythms and shift our sleep schedule as necessary.


📖 Read more


📱 Practice more

Download Bold CBT. It’s an iOS app that I made which makes it easier to do mental health exercises like this one.


🙏 Thank you

I’m grateful that you read this far! Please send me an email to tell me what you think. Your feedback makes the newsletter better for everyone.

  • john@boldCBT.com

Please subscribe to get more mental health exercises like this each week.