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Warning: Going to bed after 1 A.M. poses danger to mental health

Warning: Going to bed after 1 A.M. poses danger to mental health

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
21.06.2024 15:00

Going to bed regularly after 1 A.M. can have negative consequences on our mental health. A study has found that this problem affects both morning people and night owls.

In a recent study published in Psychiatry Research, experts analysed the sleep and health data of nearly 74,000 people from the UK. They found that individuals who regularly went to bed after 1 A.M. were more likely to suffer from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety than those who went to bed earlier.

Going to bed late is associated with mental health risks

Regardless of whether individuals identified as 'morning birds' or 'night owls', going to bed after 1 A.M. was linked to poorer mental health for both groups. Additionally, those who identified as 'night owls' and went to bed after 1 A.M. were most likely to experience adverse effects. On the other hand, those who went to bed earlier had fewer mental health diagnoses.

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Dr. Indira Gurubhagavatula, a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Sleep Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, commented on these findings for huffpost.com. She noted that the UK Biobank database, on which the results were based, consists mainly of middle-aged or older Caucasians, thus pointing to the need for further research on more diverse populations. Dr. Gurubhagavatula also stated that the UK results align with her expectations and existing scientific knowledge.

The impact of sleep deprivation on emotional regulation

Dr Gurubhagavatula explained that some brain functions are more susceptible to sleep loss than others. She stated, "So, for example, maybe you can chew gum, you can talk, you can walk, but the frontal lobe of the brain is very vulnerable to sleep deprivation." The frontal lobe is responsible for many key brain functions, including mood and emotional regulation, HuffPost adds.

"So, our ability to not swing wildly from one emotion to the other ― that ability to inhibit ourselves ― becomes impaired under conditions of sleep deprivation or staying up very late at night," Gurubhagavatula said. "Then it can lead to more negativity, more anxiety ... because the higher brain functions that would regulate those emotions are more dulled."

Source: huffpost.com

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