Rhythm Is Gonna Get You

It’s been 30 years since Gloria Estefan’s huge hit, Rhythm is Gonna Get You, topped the charts. Now, new research shows Ms. Estefan may have been on to something. A recent study, just released in The Lancet, suggests a disruption to our daily rhythm could lead to mental health problems.

From LiveScience.com:

Our bodies are made up of clocks that keep time with the rotation of our planet — and when these clocks are thrown out of whack, it does more than disrupt sleep. Now, a new study from the United Kingdom adds more evidence that disrupting your body’s clock may also be linked to mood disorders.

The study — which is the largest on this topic done to date with more than 90,000 participants — found that disruptions to the body’s clocks were associated with a higher risk for mental health conditions.

According to CNN.com, “The researchers found that individuals with more circadian rhythm disruptions — defined as increased activity at night, decreased activity during the day or both — were significantly more likely to have symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder or major depression. 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.”

Eurekalert.org quoted the study’s author, Dr Laura Lyall from the University of Glasgow, UK, as saying:

Our findings indicate an association between altered daily circadian rhythms and mood disorders and wellbeing. However, these are observational associations and cannot tell us whether mood disorders and reduced wellbeing cause disturbed rest-activity patterns, or whether disturbed circadian rhythmicity makes people vulnerable to mood disorders and poorer wellbeing.”

BBC.com pointed out that while the study “found higher rates of major depression, bipolar disorder, more loneliness, lower happiness, worse reaction times and more mood instability in people with body-clock disruption…..

….the study cannot tell if the disruption is causing the mental illness or is just a symptom of it. That will take further work.

If you are having trouble sleeping and believe that is throwing off your circadian rhythm, the National Sleep Foundation has a few tips that may help you get a better night’s rest.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. …
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. …
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. …
  • Exercise daily. …
  • Evaluate your room. …
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Share your thoughts on this new study and whether you believe a disruption to your own daily rhythm does indeed lead to a change in your moods. Opening up constructive dialogue around the major health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!




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