Eating at night exacerbates feelings of anxiety and depression

September 15, 2022

2 minutes to read

Cher cites her work on the Sleep Research Society’s board of directors and receiving advisory fees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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  • A study simulating night work revealed that eating at night may increase feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • Exacerbation of depressive feelings has been associated with disruption of the internal biological clock.
  • The researchers emphasized that future studies are needed to establish a causal relationship.

Researchers have discovered evidence that meal timing has significant effects on anxiety- and depression-like mood levels, which have been linked to disruption of the internal circadian clock.

“Our findings provide evidence for timing of eating as a novel strategy to reduce the potential for mood swings in individuals with circadian imbalance, such as those engaged in shift work, jet lag, or those with circadian rhythm disturbances. Biological clock ,” Frank AJL Cher, Ph.D.And the Study co-author and director of the Clinical Chronobiology Program in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said in a press release. “Future studies in shift workers and the clinical population are needed to determine whether changes in meal timing can prevent an increase in their mood impairment. Until then, our study brings a new ‘player’ to the table: timing of eating is important to our mood.”

Data are from: Qian J, et al. According to Natl acad Skiing in the USA. 2022; doi: 10.1073/pnas.2206348119.

The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, simulating night work and testing the effects of meal timing. The researchers were able to assess mood swings with a “precisely controlled 14-day circadian model.”

For subjects who ate both day and night, levels of anxiety-like moods increased by 16.1% (pFDR = 0.001; r effect size = 0.47) and levels of depressive-like moods increased by 26.2% (pFDR = 0.001; effect size r = 0.78). People who ate only during the day did not report the increases, leading researchers to believe that meal timing could influence mood.

The researchers also wrote that, “Importantly, a greater degree of internal circadian disruption was closely associated with more depressive-like episodes (r = 0.77; s = 0.001) and like anxiety (r = 0.67; s = 0.002) mood levels during a night-work simulation”.

Previous research has found that shift workers have a 25% to 40% higher risk of depression and anxiety, in part due to disruptions in their biological clock and daily emotional/behavioral cycles. Therefore, Scheer and colleagues write, “Evidence-based daily interventions are required to prevent mood impairment in shift work environments.”

“Shift workers – as well as individuals with circadian rhythm disturbances, including jet lag – may benefit from our intervention in meal timing,” Sarah L. ChilapaMasters, Ph.DAnd the A co-author of the study and a physician at the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Cologne in Germany said in the statement. “Our findings open the door to a new sleep/circadian behavioral strategy that may also benefit individuals with mental health disorders. Our study adds to a growing body of evidence that strategies that improve sleep and circadian rhythms may help enhance sleep and circadian rhythms.” Mental health “.

Although Chelapa said in the statement that “meal timing emerges as an important aspect of nutrition” that can affect an individual’s physical health, “the causal role of eating timing on mental health remains to be tested.”

“Future studies are required to determine whether changes in meal timing can help individuals with depression and anxiety/anxiety related disorders,” Chelapa continued.