The effect of age and chronotype on seasonality, sleep problems, and mood

Yvonne Höller*, Bryndís Elsa Gudjónsdottir, Stefanía Kristín Valgeirsdóttir, Gudmundur T. Heimisson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Seasonal affective disorder has been associated with sleep problems, young age, and an evening chronotype. A chronotype refers to an individual's preference in the timing of their sleep-wake cycle, as well as the time during the sleep-wake cycle when a person is most alert and energetic. Seasonality refers to season-dependent fluctuations in sleep length, social activity, mood, weight, appetite, and energy level. Evening chronotype is more common in young adults and morning chronotype more common in the elderly. This study aimed to estimate the differential contribution of chronotype and age on seasonality. A sample of n=410 participants were included in the study. The age groups showed significantly different results according to sleep parameters, depression, anxiety, stress, seasonality, and chronotype. The oldest group (>59 years) showed the lowest scores on all of these scales. According to a path analysis, chronotype and age predict propensity for seasonality. However, sleep problems were linked to chronotype but not to age. Older adults seem to be more resistant to seasonal changes that are perceived as a problem than young and middle aged adults. Future studies would benefit from considering cultural aspects and examine seasonality, chronotype, depression, and insomnia in longitudinal designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113722
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

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Other keywords

  • Ageing
  • Circadian type
  • Insomnia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Seasons
  • Winter depression


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