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Staying Up Late Tied to Poorer Mental Health

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Authors say this finding persists regardless of chronobiological preferences

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 4, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Going to bed late, regardless of natural inclination, is associated with poorer mental health, according to a study published online May 19 in Psychiatry Research.

Renske Lok, Ph.D., from Stanford University in California, and colleagues assessed how chronotype, sleep timing, and the alignment between the two impact mental health. The analysis included a community-dwelling cohort of middle- and older-aged adults participating in the U.K. Biobank (73,888 adults).

The researchers found that compared with morning types with early behavior (aligned), morning types with late behavior (misaligned) had a significantly increased risk for having mental, behavioral, or neurodevelopmental disorders (MBN); depression; and anxiety. Evening types with early behavior (misaligned) had a significantly decreased risk for depression, with a trend for MBN and anxiety, compared with evening types with late behavior (aligned). Longitudinal analyses confirmed the cross-sectional findings with the likelihood of developing de novo mental health disorders associated with chronotype, behavioral timing, and alignment between the two. The authors advised going to bed before 1 a.m., regardless of chronobiological preferences.

“We found that alignment with your chronotype is not crucial here, and that really it’s being up late that is not good for your mental health,” senior author Jamie Zeitzer, Ph.D., also from Stanford University, said in a statement. “The big unknown is why.”

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