Researchers from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom noted that a regular sleep-wake cycle is "crucial" for mental health and well-being, as they associate certain forms of disruption with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.
A newly published study, which examined more than 91,000 people, linked a disrupted internal clock (being active at night or inactive during the day) with the development of mood disorders.
Recently scientist has found that those who have their body clock disturbed by being awake at night risk developing depression and mood disorders. They were also more likely to have decreased feelings of well-being and to have reduced cognitive functioning, based on a computer-generated reaction time test.
The findings are consistent with research indicating a link between sleep disruptions and mood disorders.
To address these methodological issues, the researchers analysed activity data in 91,105 participants (aged 37-73) from the UK Biobank general population cohort to obtain an objective measure of patterns of rest and activity rhythms, known as relative amplitude. The disruptions were measured by an accelerometer worn on the subjects' wrists, tracking their levels of activity daily.
But it's not just what you do at night, he said, it's what you do during the day - trying to be active during the day and inactive in darkness, he said.
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.
They were also more likely to feel lonely and less happy.
"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. Circadian rhythms occur in plants, animals and throughout biology.
However, the researchers say it is still not certain whether an out-of-kilter body clock causes mental health problems, or if the mental health problems are causing disturbances to people's daytime and night-time cycles. In other words, the findings can not determine whether it was the disrupted internal clock which caused the mood disorder or vice versa.
Unfortunately, a new study says not getting good sleep can take a serious toll on your mental health.