People who wake up early are at increased risk of developing anorexia. Apparently there is a connection between the eating disorder anorexia nervosa and the internal biological clock.
A new study involving experts from Harvard Medical School examined the connection between anorexia nervosa and circadian and sleep-related characteristics. The results can be read in the English-language journal “JAMA Network Open”.
What is anorexia?
Anorexia is a psychologically caused eating disorder combined with a disturbed perception of one’s own body. Those affected suffer from a pathological need to lose weight.
The disturbed body image causes anorexics to believe that they are too fat despite being underweight, which means that food intake is greatly reduced or even completely refused at times.
Anorexic people are defined as people whose body mass index (BMI) is below 17.5 or whose body weight is 15 percent below the expected weight, whereby the underweight is self-induced.
The new study included a total of 16,992 participants with anorexia nervosa and there was also a control group with 55,525 healthy participants.
Morning chronotype increases risk
When evaluating the data, the researchers found that morning chronotypes, i.e. people who are so-called early risers due to their internal biological clock, have an increased risk of anorexia.
In addition, a genetic predisposition to anorexia nervosa was also associated with a more morning chronotype, the experts added. In addition, with the help of Mendelian randomization, a connection between anorexia nervosa and sleep disorders could also be proven.
examine connections in more detail
According to the researchers, the results of the new study indicate that anorexia nervosa, in contrast to other metapsychiatric diseases, is a disease that is associated with a morning chronotype. Insomnia can also play an important role in anorexia.
Future studies should now examine the established connection in different populations and it is also advisable to examine possible connections in more detail in subtypes of anorexia nervosa. (as)