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Chronopsychiatry: From Discovery Science to Clinical Innovation

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest exploring the intersection of sleep/circadian science and mental health. BMJ Mental Health is calling for submissions on circadian mental health research and innovation with particular focus on major depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, dementia, neurodevelopmental disorders (ASD and ADHD) and substance misuse disorders. Submissions Open | Submission Deadline : 9th June 2024

Guest Editors

Daniel Smith University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, UK orcid.org/0000-0002-2267-1951

Elise McGlashan University of Melbourne Melbourne, Victoria, Australia orcid.org/0000-0002-3864-7198


John Gottlieb Northwestern University Chicago, USA orcid.org/0000-0002-2838-8567

We are pleased to offer a 25% discount on the Article Processing Charge (APC) for articles submitted to this Topic Collection. Please visit our author hub for more information about the benefits of submitting to a Topic Collection. 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 enabling 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 mental health. The correct timing of exposure to light is critical for the entrainment of human circadian function but patterns of modern living (including shift-working and excess artificial light at night) cause desynchronization of rhythms and result in a wide range of adverse mental and physical health outcomes. This is particularly important in major depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, dementia, neurodevelopmental disorders (ASD and ADHD) and substance misuse disorders, where abnormalities of circadian function are implicated both in pathophysiological mechanisms and treatment outcomes. In recent years, there has been a renaissance of interest in the overlap between sleep/circadian science and mental health, from basic discovery science through to novel chronotherapies and public health policy. This field represents a paradigm shift in psychiatry and mental health (specifically, a move away from consideration of static processes towards time-variable perspectives on neurobiology and symptoms). Now is a good time to consolidate new research in this area, raising the profile of circadian mental health research and innovation, and providing practitioners with state-of-the art knowledge that can directly improve clinical practice and patient outcomes. We will focus on original research, systematic reviews, editorials, and analysis submissions. The broad spectrum of mental illness will be considered but we may prioritise submissions on major depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, dementia, neurodevelopmental disorders (ASD and ADHD) and substance misuse disorders. Suggested topics:
  • Chronobiological models of mental illness
  • Overview of circadian function and dysfunction in general medical conditions
  • Translational neuroscience of circadian function and mental health
  • The genomic interface between circadian function and major mental illness
  • Sleep and circadian disruption and young people’s mental health
  • Light sensitivity in major mental illness: basic science, clinical studies and new treatment approaches
  • Data management challenges and open science practices in circadian mental health
  • Digital chrono-technologies to improve mental health outcomes
  • Development and evaluation of novel chronotherapies for mental illness (both pharmacological and non-pharmacological)
  • The role of circadian disruption in metabolic disorders in major mental illness
  • Season and latitude influences on symptoms and outcomes in mental illness
  • Educating the workforce: what do clinicians in mental health need to know about chronobiology and chronotherapeutics?
  • A review of the history and major developmental epochs of circadian science over the past 50 years
  • Public health aspects of sleep and circadian disruption: opportunities for large-scale improvements in population mental health and wellbeing.
Please see the instructions for authors for submission requirements for each article type. To submit your article, please follow these instructions and select ‘Chronopsychiatry: From Discovery Science to Clinical Innovation’ as the Topic Collection.   All submitted articles will be subject to the journal's normal peer review process. Articles accepted for publication will be published upon acceptance. Visit our author hub for more information regarding the publication process for Topic Collections. For any inquiries regarding this topic collection, please contact topic.collections@bmj.com. Key words: sleep, circadian, depression, bipolar disorder, seasonality, chronotherapy, light.