January 22, 2019

Disruption of Circadian Rhythm Negatively Impacts Mental Health

17 May 2018, 12:42 | Randall Craig

University of Glasgow researchers have found playing with your phone in bed can heighten your chances of developing a mental health disorder

University of Glasgow researchers have found playing with your phone in bed can heighten your chances of developing a mental health disorder

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.

"While our findings can't tell us about the direction of causality, they reinforce the idea that mood disorders are associated with disturbed circadian rhythms, and we provide evidence that altered rest-activity rhythms are also linked to worse subjective well-being and cognitive ability", said Dr. Laura Lyall, study author and research associate at the University of Glasgow.

Maintaining a normal body block, which means being more active in the day and sleeping at night, was found by researchers to have a positive effect on a person's mental health. They were given activity monitors to be worn for a week to help the researchers measure the disruption in their internal body clock.

Meanwhile, the findings of the study remained consistent even when controlling factors such as age, gender, education, lifestyle, and body mass index.

The circadian rhythm disruptions were defined as an increased nighttime activity, decreased daytime activity, or both at the same time.

Smith said, 'It's not just what you do at night, it's what you do during the day - trying to be active during the day and inactive in darkness, ' he said.

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
Disruption of daily rhythms linked to mental health problems

Writing in journal The Lancet Psychiatry, Dr Aiden Doherty, senior research fellow from the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health, said a next step could be to carry out further research on younger people.

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

The findings have significant public health consequences, particularly for those who live in urban areas, where circadian rhythms are often disrupted due to artificial light, according to Smith.

"It's a cross-sectional study, so we can't say anything about cause and effect or what came first, the mood disorder or the circadian disruption", said Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. The authors also note that rest-activity rhythms differ between younger and older adults, so the associations between circadian rhythmicity and mental health and wellbeing may differ in younger age groups.

Unfortunately, a new study says not getting good sleep can take a serious toll on your mental health.

The study can not say conclusively that body clock disturbances are what caused the mental risk, instead of the other way round.

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