Found an interesting article the other day bearing the headline: Being a Night Owl Really Can Hurt Your Mental Health . Being a night owl by default and being an experienced night shifter by military requirements (I was an aircraft maintainer for seven years), this article definitely caught my attention.
“The researchers … uncovered an apparent causal link between being a night owl and being more prone to depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.” Meaning those of us who fall into the night owl category are more prone to certain mental health issues. “This was not dependent on factors such as poor sleep quality or lack of sleep, they found.” This would indicate the connection is not a result or even a cause of the insomnia that many of us experience as a symptom of our issues. If anything, this study would suggest that depression is not our fault, something so many us have a hard time accepting.
The solutions offered to counter our night owl tendencies are very similar to many of the same treatment suggestions that have been suggested by therapists in dealing with my own depression. Some of the solutions offered include “prepare for sleep by not consuming caffeine in the afternoon and by tuning out of technology at least an hour before going to bed”, “the hour [before bed] with a shower, reading with a dim light, having a conversation, or doing some gentle stretching”, or “a simple mindfulness technique that gets you out of your head and into your breathing and body awareness.”
While this by no means fixes everything, it does offer some useful suggestions that could help us along our way.