Tick tock: Study links body clock to mood disorders

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"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 well-being and cognitive ability", said Dr. Laura Lyall, study author and research associate at the University of Glasgow.

If the participants was highly active at late hours, or inactive during the day, this was classed as a disruption, Business Insider reports. Irregular sleep patterns were also associated with mood swings and increased neuroticism and feelings of loneliness and unhappiness, along with slower reaction times.

The scientists examined people's circadian rhythms, which control functions such as sleep patterns, immune systems and the release of hormones, to measure daily rest-activity rhythms, also known as relative amplitude.

If you're scrolling on your phone past 10pm at night, you might be heightening your risk of mood disorders.

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Researchers analysed activity data in more than 91,000 participants aged 37-73 from the UK Biobank general population cohort to obtain an objective measure of patterns of rest and activity rhythms. It measured these disruptions using a device called an accelerometer that is worn on the wrist and measures one's daily activity levels.

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

Professor Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the university, said: 'A healthy rhythm is to be quite active during the day and very inactive at night. In other words, the findings can not determine whether it was the disrupted internal clock which caused the mood disorder or vice versa.

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

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"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". Those with lower relative amplitude were at greater risk of mental health problems regardless of age, sex, lifestyle, education and previous childhood trauma.

For those who struggle to maintain a consistent circadian rhythm, certain strategies - such as avoiding technology at night - have proven to be an important part of good sleep hygiene.

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.

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