Circadian rhythm in negative affect: Implications for mood disorders

Jonathan S. Emens, Alec M. Berman, Saurabh S. Thosar, Matthew P. Butler, Sally A. Roberts, Noal A. Clemons, Maya X. Herzig, Andrew W. McHill, Miki Morimoto, Nicole P. Bowles, Steven A. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In humans, there is an endogenous, near 24-h (i.e., circadian) variation in mood with the best mood occurring during the circadian day and the worst mood occurring during the circadian night. Only positive affect, and not negative affect, has been shown to contribute to this circadian rhythm. We discovered a sharp circadian peak in negative affect during the circadian night coincident with a circadian trough in positive affect. These findings may help explain the association of depression with insomnia, the increased risk of suicide with nocturnal wakefulness, and the correlation between circadian misalignment and symptom severity in Major Depressive Disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113337
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Circadian
  • Mood disorders
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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