Dodgy sleep pattern? That could increase your chances of developing a mood disorder

Alice Sholl
Contributor
We should all consider sleep a greater priority [Photo: Pexels]

Few of us can say that we go to sleep and rise at the same time each day; getting up early on weekends as well as work days would require a great deal of discipline.

But for the sake of our mental health, it could still be worth it.

According to a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry, having a disrupted circadian rhythm – aka, a messed up body clock – could lead to an increased chance of having lower happiness levels or even developing mood disorders.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow assessed data collected from 91,105 people in the UK Biobank cohort (a health resource).

After analysing participants’ routines including taking the time they spent active or resting on a daily basis into account, they spotted a correlation between an imbalanced circadian rhythm and mood disorder risk.

People who reported having “lower relative amplitude” – disrupted sleep, basically – were even at a higher risk of developing depression or bipolar disorder.

Not tempted? [Photo: Pexels]

They also had a higher chance of increased loneliness levels and decreased happiness levels.

Lead author Dr Laura Lyall told the University of Glasgow’s website: “In the largest such study ever conducted, we found a robust association between disruption of circadian rhythms and mood disorders.

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

The authors also noted that urban living could be a factor.

Senior author Professor Daniel Smith added:

“The next step will be to identify the mechanisms by which genetic and environmental causes of circadian disruption interact to increase an individual’s risk of depression and bipolar disorder.

“This is important globally because more and more people are living in urban environments that are known to increase risk of circadian disruption and, by extension, adverse mental health outcomes.”

Struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Here are a few ways of boosting you chances.


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