April 20, 2024

How Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Issues Impact Mental Health

According to new research, sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances are closely linked with poor mental health outcomes. A recent study focused on understanding the connection between disrupted sleep patterns and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

The research suggests that when our lifestyle deviates from the natural day-and-night cycle, our circadian rhythm can become disrupted. This disruption may be caused by factors such as working night shifts, experiencing jet lag, aging, genetics, autoimmune diseases, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Individuals with disrupted circadian rhythms are more likely to experience the onset and relapse of mental health issues. The severity of sleep and circadian disruptions correlates with a person’s mood, risk of relapse, and treatment outcomes for mental health disorders.

The study reviewed research from the past decade focusing on mental health disorders in adolescents and young adults. It revealed that a significant number of individuals diagnosed with mental health conditions also reported sleep problems like insomnia, delayed sleep timing, and worsened daytime alertness. Additionally, a substantial portion of individuals with bipolar disorder exhibited disrupted circadian rhythms, sleeping and waking up later than usual.

The research identified potential biological mechanisms linking sleep problems and mental health disorders. These mechanisms included increased vulnerability at the genetic or molecular level to circadian rhythm disruption and changes in brain activity due to chemical signaling issues affecting sleep and mood levels.

The findings underscore the need to address circadian rhythm disruptions in young individuals to mitigate the risk of developing mental health problems. Measures such as exposure to natural daylight, reducing nighttime light exposure, and aligning daily activities with circadian rhythms were suggested to improve mood and sleep quality.

The research also emphasized the importance of considering both sleep and circadian rhythm problems when treating mental health issues. Currently, treatments for sleep problems often focus on improving sleep quality through cognitive behavioral therapy and sleep restriction, while mental health problems stemming from circadian rhythm disruption are not directly targeted.

Further research is needed to explore the efficacy of treatments that target circadian rhythm disruptions in improving mental health outcomes in real-world settings. By addressing sleep and circadian problems, there may be an opportunity to enhance mental health and overall quality of life for individuals affected by these issues.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.