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.

Messing with your body clock - or circadian rhythms, if you prefer long words - seriously increases your risk of mood disorders, the University of Glasgow researchers found. Irregular sleep patterns were also associated with mood swings and increased neuroticism and feelings of loneliness and unhappiness, along with slower reaction times.

The volunteers wore accelerometers that measured patterns of rest and activity and had this record compared to their mental history, also taken from the UK Biobank.

It is already known that the internal body clock regulates many functions including body temperature and eating habits.

That is the finding from a study of more than 90,000 people by scientists at the University of Glasgow.

"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 wellbeing and cognitive ability", says Dr Lyall".

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That's because of the artificial light in cities that can disrupt your sleep cycles.

Researchers in the United Kingdom made the conclusion by studying the circadian rhythm: our waking and sleeping patterns throughout the 24-hour sleep cycle. People with less of a distinction between active and resting periods scored a lower amplitude, either because they were not active enough during while they were awake or too active in the hours intended for sleep. "But I think what's less well-known and what comes out of this work is that not only is a good night's sleep important, but having a regular rhythm of being active in daylight and inactive in darkness over time is important for mental well-being".

A study finds that night owls are more prone to risking mental health problems, such as depression and bipolar disorder. "However, these are observational associations and can not tell us whether mood disorders and reduced wellbeing cause disturbed rest-activity patterns, or whether disturbed circadian rhythmicity makes people vulnerable to mood disorders and poorer wellbeing".

This study was funded by the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine.

However, the researchers say it is still not certain whether an out-of-kilter body clock causes mental health problems, or if the mental health problems are causing disturbances to people's daytime and night-time cycles.

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