Bad sleep could hurt your mental health

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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", Lyall said.

The findings come from the largest study of its kind, involving more than 91,000 people across the UK.

For the latest study, researchers analysed activity data on 91,105 people to measure their daily rest-activity rhythms (also known as relative amplitude).

He also told that a 10 pm cut-off will give the average adult time to wind down before switching off the lights and going to beauty sleep.

Body clock rhythms govern fundamental physiological and behavioural functions - from body temperatures to eating habits - in nearly all living beings.

According to the results, the people who suffered from more disruptions to their body clock were significantly more likely to have symptoms for major depression or bipolar disorder.

A lower circadian amplitude denotes less distinction, in terms of activity levels, between active and rest periods of the day.

It is already known that the internal body clock regulates many functions including body temperature and eating habits.

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

"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.

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.

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. "But equally important is a pattern of exposing yourself to sunshine and daylight in the morning and doing activity in the morning or midday so you can actually sleep properly".

Now it's not clear whether the sleep problems cause the mental health issues-or maybe it's the other way around. "However, these are observational associations and can not tell us whether mood disorders and reduced wellbeing cause disturbed rest-activity patterns, or whether disturbed circadian rhythmicity makes people vulnerable to mood disorders and poorer wellbeing". "My suspicion is that we might observe even more pronounced effects in younger samples, but that hasn't been done yet, to my knowledge".

"Although several studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythmicity and adverse mental health outcomes, much of this work has limitations", they wrote.

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