Lack of regular bedtime, a study shows, could have a hidden side effect

There is already strong evidence that it is important to stay in bed at a regular time for a healthy life, as well as how many hours of slumber we lift in total. A new study has now found a link between disturbed sleep patterns and an increased risk of negative emotions and depression.

In a study that included direct measurement of sleep times and emotions of 2,115 physicians over their first year of training, scientists found that those with variable sleep patterns were more likely to report lower emotions and higher score for depression symptoms in questionnaires.

Variable sleep times were as likely to push up the risk of feeling as depressed as lack of sleep in general – suggesting that staying in sync with our circadian rhythms is just as important for our sleep. mental health and it takes several hours to adjust. of a completely closed eye.

“These findings highlight sleep consistency as an underdeveloped factor to target in depression and well-being,” says neuroscientist Srijan Sen, from the University of Michigan.

With an average age of 27, and working through the first year of training, the doctors involved in this study are not representative of the general population – but the group allowed scientists to study numbers. big of all people. similar situation over several months.

As you would expect, getting more sleep overall, getting up later, and going to bed earlier – as well as maintaining a more regular sleep pattern – was all tend to improve participants’ feelings. The importance of regular sleep may not have been well documented before patterns in relation to these other factors.

Data were collected through the use of sleep detection wearables, smartphone apps, and volunteer surveys. When it comes to wearables, while they may not be as accurate for sleep detection as laboratory instruments, they allow scientists to monitor many people’s habits simultaneously, over time. large, without disturbing their daily. activities (and bedtime during the night).

“The advanced technology of consumption allows us to study mental health behavioral and psychological factors, including sleep, at a much larger scale and more global than before, opening up an interesting field. us for study, ”says neuroscientist Yu Fang, of the University of Michigan.

“Our decisions are aimed not only at directing autonomy on sleep habits but also to inform institutional registration structures.”

While we can all agree that better sleep habits are good for our overall health, the team behind the new study wants to see more research into how different aspects of sleep hygiene – bedtime, waking time, sleep patterns, total sleep – affects individual well-being.

The new study supports previous research that shows that bypassing our circadian rhythms can damage our mood, and increase the risk of depression over time. Try to keep at the same time to go to bed and get up for a longer period of time, if you can – it may ease your mood and vision.

Next the researchers want to turn their attention to other groups of people who may not have full control when they go to bed, when they wake up, and how many hours of sleep they have. who receive them – such as parents of young children. , For instance.

“I also wish my 1-year-olds could learn about these decisions and wake me up at 8.21m every day,” says Fang.

The research was published in Digital Medicine npj.