Lack of Sleep Linked to Negative Thinking

Reduced sleep duration is linked to more repetitive negative thinking.

Reduced sleep duration is linked to more repetitive negative thinking, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Binghamton University.

Authors Jacob A. Nota and Meredith E. Coles determined that individuals who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed very late at night may be naturally pessimistic.

"Making sure that sleep is obtained during the right time of day may be an inexpensive and easily disseminable intervention for individuals who are bothered by intrusive thoughts," Nota stated in a press release.

For the study, 100 young adults at Binghamton University were asked to complete questionnaires and conduct 2 computerized tasks, during which they were analyzed for their repetitive negative thinking and anxiousness. Based on the results, Nota and Coles were able to establish a link between a lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts.

The authors noted that their study might pave the way for further research that examines a potential link between sleeping disorders and intrusive thoughts, which are typically associated with anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"If further findings support the relation between sleep timing and repetitive negative thinking, this could one day lead to a new avenue for treatment of individuals with internalizing disorders," said Coles. "Studying the relation between reductions in sleep duration and psychopathology has already demonstrated that focusing on sleep in the clinic also leads to reductions in symptoms of psychopathology."

The current findings were published on December 4, 2014, in Cognitive Therapy and Research.