A new study published in the Lancet Journal of Psychiatry has discovered a link between depression and staying up late. The body’s internal clock (experts use the term “circadian rhythm) controls sleeping, eating, and all other biological processes. The environment, in turn, regulates this clock. When it gets dark, our bodies tell us to go to bed. When the sun comes up, we wake up.
Irregular internal clocks confuse the body, and they’ve been linked to a number of serious health conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. Now, the study has found that disrupting your natural clock could cause depression. More specifically, it could increase your risk of developing it by up to 10 percent.
Scientists from the University of Glasgow studied a total of just over 90,000 adults between 37 and 73 years of age. They used activity monitors to see when they were most active. People who were less active during the day were considered to have disrupted internal clocks. Scientists found these people were also 8% more likely on average to be diagnosed with a mood disorder, like depression. They also tended to report being sadder and lonelier.
The study has not proven staying up late leads to depression — only that there is a connection between the two. It’s definitely important to pay more attention to the link between internal clocks and depression.