Saskatoon – Having trouble sleeping? One of the largest studies of its kind says it can be strongly linked to mental illness.

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The Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) recently said in its findings that people with mental illness early in their lives were more likely to have poor sleep quality than the general population. Published in PLOS Medicine.

Sreejoy Tripathi, an independent scientist at CAMH’s Crembill Center for Neuroinformatics and senior author, said, “Differences in sleep patterns indicated poorer sleep quality for participants with a previous diagnosis of mental illness, including waking up more frequently and for longer periods of time.” included.” one in Press release.


“Poor sleep contributes to poor mental health and poor mental health contributes to poor sleep,” explained Michael Weinberg, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at the center.

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“Differences in sleep patterns were a feature of all mental illnesses we studied, regardless of diagnosis,” he said, adding that assessing sleep quality was as important as its impact on people’s mental health. to find out.

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previous studies People’s chronic sleep problems have been linked to their mental conditions including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

But Tripathi explained, “no one has ever seen sleep objectively measured in the context of mental illness on this scale before.”

Wrist devices track people’s body movements

To put the study together, data were taken from 89,205 participants in the United Kingdom who agreed to wear an accelerometer on their wrists that tracked their body movements – 24 hours a day for seven days. The data was then stored in a digital patient data biobank.

Using computational algorithms, the researchers broke down vast amounts of data into metrics, such as people’s sleep times, their waking times, naps taken, and their longest periods of uninterrupted sleep. Then, the team looked at whether people had a diagnosis of mental illness at any point in their lives, as opposed to those who had not.

previous sleep study Has shown potential benefits Collecting data through these accelerometers and parsing information gathered from people in their natural sleep environment rather than in a laboratory setting.

“Part of why we wanted to do this study is that with the emergence of smartphones and wearables, we have access to data streams that we never had before,” Tripathi said.

CAMH psychiatrist and sleep disorders specialist Michael Mack said that up to 80 percent of people with mental health disorders may spend more time throwing up and turning; Or they have trouble falling asleep or staying awake longer than they would have liked.

“We know that sleep disturbances pose a huge burden on society, including economic. And we know that treatments that improve sleep quality, whether it’s therapy or certain types of medications, can help reduce mental health. can improve results.”

The Crembill Center for Neuroinformatics is currently in the process of creating a Canadian Patient Data Biobank, similar to the one used in the UK, to drive future clinical research and ultimately drive patients’ mental health care. to be better personalized.