Division of Psychiatry
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Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience

The goal of this research theme is to understand the links between disruption of circadian rhythm and mental illness.

Endogenous 24-hour (circadian) rhythms are found across almost all forms of life, from plants to humans. These rhythms exist at multiple molecular and cellular levels and allow organisms to optimally align physiology and behaviour to daily cycles of light and dark.

Well-synchronised circadian rhythms are fundamental for human health and are particularly important for cognitive function and mental wellbeing. This is particularly important for young people, who may be more sensitive to light-induced circadian dysfunction and associated mental health problems.

The goal of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience research theme is to better understand the mechanistic links between circadian disruption and mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder.

We make use of a wide range of data sources, including:

Example projects

Project title Funder Investigator(s)
Investigating the mechanisms underlying sleep problems and links to mental ill health in autistic children and adolescents Wellcome Trust Daniel Smith, Sue Fletcher Watson, Reesha Zahir
Understanding how sleep and circadian rhythm disruption influence depression and comorbidity between depression and cardiometabolic disease. Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh Daniel Smith, Laura Lyall
Evaluation Of Sleep in SYNGAP1 (EVOSIS) Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain, Patrick Wild Centre Lindsey Mizen

Lithium's mechanism of action in bipolar disorder: investigating the light hypersensitivty hypothesis: www.heliosbd.com

Wellcome Trust Daniel Smith

Ambient and passive collection of sleep and circadian rhythm data in bipolar disorder to understand symptom trajectories and clinical outcomes: www.ambientbd.com 

Wellcome Trust Daniel Smith

UK Circadian Mental Health Network: www.circadianmentalhealth.org

MRC Daniel Smith