It’s not necessarily news that your sleep habits impact your mood – but a new large-scale study links your sleep-wake cycles to your overall mental health.
A study of more than 91,000 adults in the United Kingdom found that folks with more circadian rhythm disruptions – defined by the researchers as increased activity at night, decreased activity during the day or both – had a higher risk of symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder or major depression. They were also more likely to experience decreased feelings of well-being and reduced cognitive functioning.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, measured participants circadian rhythm disruptions and daily activity levels using a device called an accelerometer.
“It’s widely known that a good night’s sleep is a good thing for well-being and health. That’s not a big surprise,” Dr. Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry at the University of Glasgow and a leading author on the study, told CNN.com. “But I think what’s less well-known and what comes out of this work is that not only is a good night’s sleep important, but having a regular rhythm of being active in daylight and inactive in darkness over time is important for mental well-being.”
The researchers emphasized the importance of the following habits to help maintain a good daily rhythm:
- Practice good sleep hygiene, including putting away that smartphone.
- Expose yourself to plenty of sunshine during waking hours.
- Stay active in morning and midday to help your body get tired.
- Stick to a constant sleep-wake schedule – even on weekends.
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