sleep affects mental health
Sleep and mental health. Image Credit: Izzet Ugutmen/Shutterstock

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How your sleep schedule can affect your mental health

Recent studies show a correlation between a person’s sleep schedule and overall mental wellbeing, including susceptibility to depression.

sleep affects mental health
Sleep and mental health. Image Credit: Izzet Ugutmen/Shutterstock

Researchers have uncovered evidence linking sleep schedules to mental health. The research suggests that people who go to bed later than 1:00 are more likely to experience poor mental health.


A recent observational study from Imperial College London in the UK shows how a person’s sleep schedule can significantly influence mental health. It found that people who go to bed before 1:00 are generally healthier mentally. Overall, they report fewer cases of mental, behavioural, and neurodevelopmental disorders. This includes depression and generalised anxiety disorders.

The study group consisted of 73 888 adults, of which 56% were female. The mean age of the participants was 63.5 years, and they slept, on average, seven hours per daily sleep cycle.

The study is published in Psychiatry Research.

The inclination to sleep at specific times (chronotype) is separate from actual sleep timing (behaviour). These two factors influence mental health independently. In many people, the two are misaligned.


According to Dr Jamie Zeitzer from Stanford University, the human brain works differently late at night. This could have a notable impact on mental health.

Interestingly, he explained that there is a strong possibility that people who are awake late at night may feel isolated, which could in turn have an effect, albeit subconsciously, on their mental health, as reported by Medical News Today.

The study highlighted that the correlation between sleeping times and mental health proved to be true regardless of whether individuals identified themselves as preferring to go to bed early or to stay up late. This implies that the timing of sleep plays a crucial role in mental health outcomes, potentially overshadowing the natural predispositions individuals may have toward staying up late.


Once people experience mental health problems, it is very likely that they may fall into an unhealthy cycle where the close relationship between sleep and mental health is at the core.

Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep. In turn, poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. And so the unhealthy cycle starts.

Depression, for example, can lead to both insomnia and staying in bed for longer and consequently sleeping more.

According to, around 75% of people who suffer from depression show symptoms of insomnia. Many with depression suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and hypersomnia, which is sleeping too much.