Disrupted body clock can pose serious risks of mental health

  • Disrupted body clock can pose serious risks of mental health

Disrupted body clock can pose serious risks of mental health

Earlier research had suggested that disrupting these rhythms can adversely affect mental health, but was inconclusive: most data was self-reported, participant groups were small, and potentially data-skewing factors were not ruled out.

The findings revealed that those who were active during the night or inactive during the day were 6% to 10% more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder.

For the new study, an worldwide 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.

Professor Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the university, said: 'A healthy rhythm is to be quite active during the day and very inactive at night.

They are also likely to feel less happy and more lonely, the study found.

To explore the link between mental health and the 24-hour cycles of sleep and activity known as circadian rhythms, the team looked at data from more than 91,000 participants who had worn a wrist-based activity tracker for a week at some point between 2013 and 2015. The work was funded by a Lister Prize Fellowship to Professor Smith.

If you're scrolling on your phone past 10pm at night, you might be heightening your risk of mood disorders. But it is hard for some people, such as shift workers, because of their job or because of their family circumstances'.

Our internal body clocks regulate every biological process in our bodies such as eating, our blood pressure, and sleeping. In other words, the findings can not determine whether it was the disrupted internal clock which caused the mood disorder or vice versa. They plan to investigate this next.

In addition to increased risk of depression and bipolar disorder, lower relative amplitude was also associated with low subjective ratings of happiness and health satisfaction, with higher risk of reporting loneliness, and with slower reaction time (an indirect measure of cognitive ability). The internal clock figures out the current time of the day by using the cues from sunlight and then transmits the information to the peripheral clocks located in the entire body.

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.

'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'.