Study shows staying up late isn’t great for your mental health

There’s a saying “nothing good happens after 2 a.m.,” but according to researchers with Stanford University, it’s more like 1 a.m.

According to a study using more than 83,000 participants, researchers looked into self-described “night owls” — people who like to stay up — and their opposites, known as “morning larks,” and found those who stayed up late experienced poor mental health.

That held true for people who preferred to stay up late and early risers who found themselves staying up past their bedtime.

The researchers were surprised at the findings, considering there are distinct chronotypes, biological preferences toward either early rising or staying up late, but in the end, “being up late … is not good for your mental health,” according to study author Jamie Zeitzer.

Zeitzer adds, “The big unknown is why.”

“The worst-case scenario is definitely the late-night people staying up late,” Zeitzer continues. “Night owls being true to their chronotype were 20% to 40% more likely to have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, compared with night owls following an early or intermediate sleep schedule.”

He adds, “[B]oth morning types and evening types who went to sleep late had higher rates of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.”

The study, published May 19 in Psychiatry Research, recommends lights out by 1 a.m.

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