Disruption in internal body clock can put your mental health at risk

Largest study to date finds link between disruption to body clock and severe depression

Largest study to date finds link between disruption to body clock and severe depression

For the study, researchers measured body clock disruption on 91, 000 middle aged people using wearable monitors.

The findings were found to be consistent even when controlling for a number of influential factors including age, sex, lifestyle, education and body mass index, according to Smith.

Daily circadian rhythm is controlled by a collection of neurons in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus.

DISRUPTION TO THE body's internal clock is associated with greater susceptibility to mood disorders such as severe depression and bipolar disorder, the largest study of its kind has found. People with less of a distinction between active and resting periods scored a lower amplitude, either because they were not active enough during while they were awake or too active in the hours intended for sleep. Disruption of the internal body clock can put you at raised risk of mood disorders.

"Seventy-five per cent of [mental] disorders start before the age of 24 years", said University of Oxford researcher Aiden Doherty, commenting on the paper.

"Circadian disruption is reliably associated with various adverse mental health and well-being outcomes, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder", the authors write.

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. "Hopefully, that will protect a lot of people from mood disorders". The authors also note that rest-activity rhythms differ between younger and older adults, so the associations between circadian rhythmicity and mental health and wellbeing may differ in younger age groups.

Now it's not clear whether the sleep problems cause the mental health issues-or maybe it's the other way around.

The researchers used the resulting information to calculate what is known as the relative amplitude.

Further research is needed to pinpoint the potential genetic and environmental reasons why our circadian rhythm might be disrupted, and how this could affect a person's chances of developing depression and bipolar disorder, he said in a statement.

"The circadian system changes throughout life.

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". "And from my point of view as a psychiatrist, I think it's probably under-recognized in psychiatry how important healthy circadian function is, but it's an area that we're trying to develop".

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