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Here's how eating time affects people's mental health

Here's how eating time affects people's mental health

The timing of eating can affect people's mental health, including mood levels linked to depression and anxiety, a new study has found. Experts from Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a study that simulated working at night, and then tested the effects of eating during the day and at night, versus eating only during the day.

The team found that among participants in the day and night eating group, levels of depression-like mood increased by 26 percent, while levels of anxiety-like mood increased by 16 percent.

Participants in the group who ate only during the day did not experience this increase, suggesting that meal times can greatly affect mood swings in people.

"Our data provide evidence for meal timing as a novel strategy to potentially minimize mood swings in individuals who experience circadian inconsistencies, such as night shift workers, who experience travel delays plane or who suffer from circadian rhythm disorders" - declared one of the experts FrenkShir, Director of the Medical Chronobiology Program in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at "Brigham and Women's Hospital".

Shift workers comprise up to 20 percent of the workforce in industrial societies, and are directly responsible for many hospital services, factory jobs, and other essential services. They often experience a mismatch between their central circadian clock in the brain and daily behaviors such as sleep/wake and fasting/eating cycles. They are also 25–40 percent more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. To conduct the study, Shir and colleagues recruited 19 volunteers (12 men and 7 women) for their study. The participants were forced to stand for 4 28-hour "days" under an environment illuminated by a dim light.

“Ditën e katërt, ciklet e tyre të sjelljes u përmbysën me 12 orë, duke simuluar punën e natës dhe duke u shkaktuar mospërputhje në ritmet cirkadiane. Pjesëmarrësit u ndanë rastësisht në njërin nga dy grupet:Grupi i Kontrollit i Vakteve të Ditës dhe Natës, që konsumonte ushqim sipas një cikli 28-orësh (pra ngrënie gjatë natës dhe ditës, gjë që është tipike për punëtorët qëturnit të natës) dhe Grupi i Ndërhyrjes vetëm për Vaktet Ditore, që konsumonte vakte në një cikël 24-orësh (pra duke ngrënë vetëm gjatë ditës).

The team assessed hourly levels of depression-like mood and anxiety. He found that the timing of the meal significantly affected the mood levels of the participants. During the simulated shift change (day 4), those in the Day and Night Meal Control Group had similar mood levels of depression and anxiety compared to day one.

Meanwhile, those in the second group showed no change in their mood. However, further studies are needed to determine whether changes in meal times can help those experiencing depression and anxiety disorders.