Disruption of Circadian Rhythm Negatively Impacts Mental Health

A study of 91,000 people found following your body's natural clock is vital to stay mentally healthy. Those who do not have a greater chance of developing mental disorders

Those who are inactive during the day and more active or restless at night have an increased risk of depression, bipolar disorder and low mood.

"To look at this in more detail, it will be useful for future studies to track participants' rest-activity patterns over time to see whether disturbed rhythms can predict whether someone is more likely to go on to develop a mood disorder", commented author Dr Laura Lyall from the University of Glasgow.

For the new study, an global team led by Laura Lyall, a University of Glasgow psychologist, analysed data - taken from the UK Biobank, one of the most complete long-term health surveys ever done - on 91,105 people aged 37 to 73.

"Especially in the winter, making sure you get out in the morning in the fresh air is just as important in getting a good night's sleep as not being on your mobile phone", said Smith.

"Although several studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythmicity and adverse mental health outcomes, much of this work has limitations", they wrote.

"Previous studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythms and poor mental health, however, these were on relatively small samples".

Professor Smith added: 'There are a lot of things people can do, especially during the winter, such as getting out of the house in the morning to get exposed to light and take exercise, so that by evening they are exhausted.

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If you're scrolling on your phone past 10pm at night, you might be heightening your risk of mood disorders.

Our internal body clocks regulate every biological process in our bodies such as eating, our blood pressure, and sleeping.

Your body clock is associated with mood disorders, scientists say. They plan to investigate this next.

The researchers used activity data on 91,105 participants in the UK Biobank cohort to obtain an objective measure of daily rest-activity rhythms, called relative amplitude.

Body clock rhythms govern fundamental physiological and behavioural functions - from body temperatures to eating habits - in nearly all living beings.

Individuals with a history of disrupting their body's natural rhythm - working night shifts, for example, or suffering repeated jetlag - also tended to have a higher lifetime risk of mood disorders, feelings of unhappiness and cognitive problems, the researchers found.

'It might be that the UK Biobank provides the impetus for a resource of a similar scale in adolescents and younger adults to help transform our understanding of the causes and consequences, prevention and treatment of mental health disorders'.

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