Dr. Laura Lyall, the research's lead author, said that the team had found a "robust association" between the disruption of circadian rhythms and the mood disorders.
Maintaining a normal body block, which means being more active in the day and sleeping at night, was found by researchers to have a positive effect on a person's mental health.
The findings revealed that those who were active during the night or inactive during the day were 6% to 10% more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder. Irregular sleep patterns were also associated with mood swings and increased neuroticism and feelings of loneliness and unhappiness, along with slower reaction times.
"This study is the first large-scale investigation of the association of objectively measured circadian rhythmicity with various mental health, well-being, personality and cognitive outcomes, with an unprecedented sample size of more than 90 000 participants", Doherty wrote in an email.
"Especially in the winter, making sure you get out in the morning in the fresh air is just as important in getting a good night's sleep as not being on your mobile phone", said Smith.
Previous research has identified associations between circadian disruption and poor mental health, but these were typically based on self reports of activity and sleeping patterns, had small sample sizes, or adjusted for few potential confounders.
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Daily circadian rhythm is controlled by a collection of neurons in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Researchers analysed activity data in more than 91,000 participants aged 37-73 from the UK Biobank general population cohort to obtain an objective measure of patterns of rest and activity rhythms.
They were also more likely to feel lonely and less happy. "However, these are observational associations and can not tell us whether mood disorders and reduced well-being cause disturbed rest-activity patterns, or whether disturbed circadian rhythmicity makes people vulnerable to mood disorders and poorer well-being". People with increased nighttime activity, decreased daytime activity, or both were more likely to have symptoms of major depression or bipolar disorder.
The findings have significant public health consequences, particularly for those who live in urban areas, where circadian rhythms are often disrupted due to artificial light, according to Smith.
This study was funded by the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine.