Eat and Sleep on Time to Avoid Onset of Mental Illness

   |  Updated: February 24, 2015 11:13 IST

Eat and Sleep on Time to Avoid Onset of Mental Illness

What you eat seems to be the answer to most of your health problems but only few realise that when you eat is equally important. So eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper because that's some well-researched, real and extremely helpful advice right there.

(Eat breakfast to lose weight)

A good meal in the morning will prepare you for the day ahead, a good and healthy lunch can leave you with enough energy to finish the day's work and a light dinner, as early as possible coupled with early bed time can change your life! And according to this new study it can even prevent the onset of mental illness.

(Don't skip meals. Eat healthy to stay fit!)

The study was published in the journal eLife and talks about how our daily sleep-wake cycle is governed by an internal 24-hour timer -- the circadian clock.

"However, there is evidence that daily activity is also influenced by rhythms much shorter than 24 hours which are known as ultradian rhythms and follow a four-hour cycle," explained Kai-Florian Storch from the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University in Montreal.

Most prominently observed in infants before they are able to sleep through the night, ultradian rhythms may explain why, on average, we eat three meals a day that are relatively evenly spaced across our daily wake period.


These four-hour ultradian rhythms are activated by dopamine, a key chemical substance in the brain. When dopamine levels are out of balance, the four-hour rhythms can stretch as long as 48 hours.

(How many hours of sleep do you really need?)

In the new study conducted on genetically modified mice, Storch and his team demonstrated that sleep abnormalities, which in the past have been associated with circadian rhythm disruption, result instead from an imbalance of an ultradian rhythm generator (oscillator) that is based on dopamine.

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The new data suggests that when the ultradian arousal oscillator goes awry, sleep becomes disturbed and a sort of mania could be triggered in bipolar patients. Oscillator imbalance may also likely also be associated with episodes in schizophrenic patients.

The findings have potentially strong implications for the treatment of bipolar disease and other mental illnesses linked to dopamine imbalance, the authors noted.


With inputs from IANS

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Tags:  Sleep