Circadian Rhythm Disruption Associated with Mood Disorders

Disruption of daily rhythms linked to mental health problems

'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'. "How do we take account of our natural patterns of rest and activity and how do we design cities or jobs to protect people's mental health?" said Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the University of Glasgow and lead author of the research.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom noted that a regular sleep-wake cycle is "crucial" for mental health and well-being, as they associate certain forms of disruption with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.

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. This can be due to reduced activity during waking periods or increased activity during rest periods.

'This is an important study demonstrating a robust association between disrupted circadian rhythm and mood disorders'. A circadian relative amplitude variable was derived from these data, and the correlation with mood disorder, well-being, and cognitive variables was assessed.

Smith explained that this relative amplitude showed that regularity and changes in the routine of rest and activity.

The researchers found that lower relative amplitude was associated with a greater odds of reporting lifetime history of major depression or bipolar disorder. As the amplitudes decreased reaction times also reduced and so did the measures of happiness and satisfaction with one's health.

But the findings "reinforce the idea that mood disorders are associated with disturbed circadian rhythms", said Lyall.

A study finds that night owls are more prone to risking mental health problems, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Those subjects who appeared not to be much more active in the day than at night, and thus more likely to have problems, were "people who have very poor sleep hygiene, people on their mobile phones at midnight checking Facebook or getting up to make a cup of tea in the middle of the night", he told the Times.

Smith said, 'It's not just what you do at night, it's what you do during the day - trying to be active during the day and inactive in darkness, ' he said. He called "morning fresh air" as important as a "good night's sleep" for optimum mental health.

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