Scrolling through social media as you're trying to nod off to sleep could increase the likelihood of developing mood problems, a new study claims.
Researchers at The University of Glasgow claim that late night phone-usage could lead to a number of psychological problems such as depression, bipolar disorder and neuroticism after studying more than 91,000 people.
Published in The Lancet Psychiatry, this is the largest study to link body clock disruption with depression and unhappiness.
While the researchers cannot prove that this disruption causes these problems, they argue that it is more evidence that modern life is playing havoc with our natural rhythms, saying: ‘Daylight is time for activity and darkness is time for sleep.’
Lead author Daniel Smith of the University of Glasgow advocates a 10pm cut-off time for phone usage in an effort to combat ‘very poor sleep hygiene’.
‘I think this is important as a population health issue because so many of us are living with disrupted circadian rhythms (the body’s natural 24-hour cycle),’ he said.
‘It’s unlikely that the way society is currently set up is good for your health. So many people are living in city environments flooded with light 24/7.’
Researchers studied participants aged 37 to 73, monitoring their activity levels by wrist-work accelerometers, which they wore for a seven day period, enabling researchers to measure the extent at which their body’s natural cycle was disturbed.
The researchers also conducted examinations to measure participants’ psychological wellbeing and found that roughly one in 25 people weren’t that much more active during the day than the night.
These people were 11 per cent more likely to have bipolar disorder and six per cent more likely to be battling depression. They also reported lower happiness levels and greater rates of loneliness, according to the study.
While it may not seem like a lot of people out of the total that were studied, Daniel says that the results are no less significant.
‘This is important because it seems to be across the board,’ he said, ‘so it is a very consistent finding for these negative mental health and cognitive outcomes.’