Your Body Clock Is Linked To Risk Of Developing Mood Disorders

People who were active during the night or inactive during the day were 6 percent to 10 percent more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder than those who followed a normal cycle of being active during the day and switching to rest at night.

Researchers wanted to see if disruptions to the 24-hour "body clock" of rest and activity (circadian rhythm) had an impact on mental health.

"Given that most mental health disorders begin during adolescence, more longitudinal studies in younger populations might improve our understanding of causal mechanisms, and help find new ways to predict mood disorders and fine-tune treatments", the authors wrote in the study.

People who have their body clock disrupted by being awake at night risk developing mood disorders and depression.

A lower circadian amplitude denotes less distinction, in terms of activity levels, between active and rest periods of the day.

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 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.

Where did the story come from?

But Dr. Laura Lyall, study author and research associate at the University of Glasgow, highlights a chicken-and-egg problem since the study was an observational one.

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

It is best to stop using smartphones after around 10pm, according to a sleep expert.

"It's an exciting time for this kind of research because it's beginning to have some real-world applications", Smith said.

Researchers in the United Kingdom made the conclusion by studying the circadian rhythm: our waking and sleeping patterns throughout the 24-hour sleep cycle.

While studies like this can spot patterns of connections between factors, they can't tell us whether one factor (such as activity cycles) actually causes another (such as depression).

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. Circadian rhythms occur in plants, animals and throughout biology.

Those who took part had their activity levels monitored over a week.

This measurement was based on a score ranging between 1 and 0, where scores nearing 1 would correspond most to the "traditional" day/night pattern of activity, and scores nearing the 0 end of the spectrum would correspond to reduced daytime activity, increased night-time activity, or both. Disruptions in that biological clock may arise from increased activity during rest periods and/or inactivity during the day. And these results held true when adjusting for age, sex, lifestyle, education, body mass index and childhood trauma, the researchers say.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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