by Jenna Mallon (’18)
Since smoking affects different neurotransmitter systems throughout the body, it has been known to cause changes in mood and sleep patterns. Numerous studies have been done to determine the relationship between smoking and sleeping, but mental illnesses and mood changes have been greatly overlooked.
Dr. Takahiro Kawada and a team of researchers from the Center for Regional Collaboration at Kochi University in Japan used university students to help determine if there was a correlation between mental health, sleeping, and smoking. The study included 1376 university students aged 18 to 30 years old. The participants were asked to complete a Torsvall & Åkerstedt diurnal type scale, which asked questions about sleeping habits, mental health, mood, and smoking. Through statistical analysis of the answers, the team was able to determine that only 4.7% of the participants were smokers, and that the smokers were more “evening-typed” meaning they more often went to bed at later times. Those who smoked had more difficulty falling asleep, felt more tired during school, and had more difficulty controlling their emotions. Overall, smokers also had low mental health index scores. This study supports the correlation between sleep, mental illness, and smoking.
More research needs to be done in this area since this study is the first of its kind to explore how smoking relates to an evening-typed lifestyle. Studies like this have the potential to greatly improve public awareness of the dangers of smoking, and in turn, possibly improve public health.
- T. Kawada, et. al., Impact of Smoking on Circadian Typology, Sleep Habits and Mental Health of Japanese Students Aged 18 – 30 Years. Psychology 7, 1211-1216 (2016). doi: 10.4236/psych.2016.79122.
- Image retrieved from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Smoking_in_black_and_white.jpg