Right on Time

The early bird gets the worm, but how does that make it feel?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. 

Waking up early has advantages. You can make your bed, do laundry… clean the gutters… I guess. But could it also affect your mood as you get older?

Stephen Smagula and team from University of Pittsburgh rose to the challenge. 

They gave around two thousand older adults a wearable device. Throughout the day, the device logged when they woke up, exercised, and went to sleep. Then, the participants were asked about their overall happiness. What did they find? People who slept in had DOUBLED chances of feeling sad. 

Overall, they found about one in five older adults tend to sleep in. Waking up at the break of dawn might not be everybody’s favorite thing. However, it really may be the key to a long life!

Early to bed, early to rise, might just make you healthy, wealthy and. . . what’s the other word again? Sorry, I slept in!  


Smagula SF, Zhang G, Gujral S, et al. Association of 24-Hour Activity Pattern Phenotypes With Depression Symptoms and Cognitive Performance in Aging. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online August 31, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.2573