Your Body Clock is Associated With Mood Disorders


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

"How do we take account of our natural patterns of rest and activity and how do we design cities or jobs to protect people's mental health?"

For the large study, the researchers examined activity data of 91,105 people from the United Kingdom who were aged between 37 to 73 years.

The largest study of its kind, involving more than 91,000 people, also linked interference with the body's "circadian rhythm" to a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and attention span.

Interestingly it's not just disrupted sleep that can upset the fine balance of your circadian rhythm, it's also important to be active during the day and inactive at night - so that evening gym session probably isn't for the best.

According to the results, the people who suffered from more disruptions to their body clock were significantly more likely to have symptoms for major depression or bipolar disorder.

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

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.

Long-term night-shift work has previously been associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity.

People with lower relative amplitude were at greater risk of mental health problems such as depression and bipolar disorder. They plan to investigate this next.

Our internal body clocks, or circadian rhythms, determine almost every biological process in our bodies, including sleeping, eating, and our blood pressure.

Data were included for 91,105 participants.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom noted that a regular sleep-wake cycle is "crucial" for mental health and well-being, as they associate certain forms of disruption with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.

"Seventy-five per cent of [mental] disorders start before the age of 24 years", said University of Oxford researcher Aiden Doherty, commenting on the paper.

"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".