Early Risers Are Happier
One of the largest pieces of research to examine the genes associated with the human body clock — known as the circadian rhythm — found significant correlations between waking early and better wellbeing.
Scientists speculated that this may be because early risers have more control of their schedule, allowing a greater sense of wellbeing.
However, a study by Exeter University and Massachusetts General Hospital claims that genes appear to play a far greater role.
Using data from 85,760 individuals, researchers established that the 5 per cent of individuals carrying the most genes associated with early rising tended to wake up 25 minutes earlier.
Dr Mike Weedon, who led the research at Exeter, said: "The large number of people in our study means we have provided the strongest evidence to date that night owls are at higher risk of mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and lower mental wellbeing, although further studies are needed to fully understand this link."
The body clock is influenced by genes and lifestyle factors including diet, exposure to artificial light and jobs and activities.
The study is published in Nature Communications.