Medicine

Disrupted body clock can pose serious risks of mental health

Disrupted body clock can pose serious risks of mental health

WEDNESDAY, May 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) - Circadian disruption and lower relative amplitude are both associated with higher risk of susceptibility to mental health issues, according to a study published online May 15 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Those who are inactive during the day and more active or restless at night have an increased risk of depression, bipolar disorder and low mood.

For the new study, an worldwide team led by University of Glasgow psychologist Laura Lyall 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.

The researchers found that those who did not follow the natural rhythm had a greater likelihood of major depression or bipolar disorder and were also more likely to suffer worse wellbeing such as lower happiness levels.

"So we need to think about ways to help people tune in to their natural rhythms of activity and sleeping more effectively".

Data were included for 91,105 participants.

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"Our findings indicate an association between altered daily circadian rhythms and mood disorders and well-being", said study author Laura Lyall, from the University of Glasgow.

"This is important globally because more and more people are living in urban environments that are known to increase the risk of circadian disruption and, by extension, adverse mental health outcomes". If the participants was highly active at late hours, or inactive during the day, this was classed as a disruption, Business Insider reports.

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 said. This study, explain researchers, is vital in understanding the balance between rest and activity. A circadian relative amplitude variable was derived from these data, and the correlation with mood disorder, well-being, and cognitive variables was assessed. People are generally divided into night owls and early birds. Disruption to these rhythms has been shown to profoundly affect human health. Meanwhile, measures of happiness and health satisfaction dropped, and reaction times became slower.

According to Smith, these figures may appear small but are all significant.

"I think one of the striking things that we found was just the consistency in the direction of our association across everything we looked at in terms of mental health", Smith said. He added that the main sufferers were people with poor sleep hygiene.

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. They recorded the activity of the individuals during the 10 active hours a day and compared it to the least active 5 hours a day. He called "morning fresh air" as important as a "good night's sleep" for optimum mental health.