Does the inner clock affect well-being and the psyche?
Doctors have now found that people who wake up early are more comfortable and at less risk of schizophrenia and depression. So-called night people suffer from illnesses more often and have psychological problems more often.
In their current investigation, scientists from the University of Exeter and Massachusetts General Hospital found that our internal clock and getting up early or going to bed late have a major impact on mental health. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Nature Communications".
Night people have less psychological well-being
A large-scale genome analysis has examined some of the functions of the internal clock, which provide new insights into the connection with mental health and the development of diseases. “This study shows a large number of genes that can be examined in more detail to find out how different people can have different internal clocks. The large number of people in our study means that we have the strongest evidence to date that revelers have a higher risk of mental health problems such as schizophrenia and less mental well-being, although more studies are needed to fully understand this relationship. ” , study author Professor Mike Weedon of the University of Exeter Medical School explains in a press release.
Almost 700,000 subjects were examined
The study surveyed approximately 250,000 subjects from the United States and approximately 450,000 people in the UK Biobank study, asking whether they considered themselves more like morning people or night people. The genomes of the participants were analyzed to find out which genes they have in common and what could affect their sleep patterns. The researchers confirmed their results using information derived from wrist-worn activity trackers worn by more than 85,000 subjects. The information showed that the genetic variants that the researchers identified can shift a person's natural waking time by up to 25 minutes. The researchers also found that the genetic areas influence the time of sleep, but not the quality or duration of sleep.
Internal clock is influenced by genes and lifestyle factors
The genome regions identified include those that are central to our body clock (also known as the circadian rhythm), as well as genes that are expressed in the brain and network of the eye. Our internal clock is influenced by our genes and lifestyle factors, such as nutrition, artificial light, our jobs and activities. The internal clock influences a variety of molecular processes, including hormone levels and core body temperature, as well as our waking and sleeping patterns, explain the doctors. “The discovery of this fundamental mechanism of the body's internal clock in the brain recently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2017. However, we still know very little about whether the body's internal clock influences the risk of disease or not, ”says study author Dr. Samuel E. Jones of the University of Exeter Medical School in the press release.
Research enables new therapeutic approaches
Research shows that part of the reason why some people get up early while others are more of a night person is due to differences in our brain's response to external light signals and the normal functioning of our internal clocks. These small differences can potentially have a significant impact on the risk of disease and mental disorders, the scientists explain. By understanding the genetics of sleep and the time of activity in the general population, physicians also gain insight into possible therapeutic approaches for people with symptoms such as advanced or delayed circadian rhythm disorders, explains study author Dr. Jacqueline M Lane from the Massachusetts General Hospital. (as)