Are you a chronic worrier? If you’ve been obsessing about your problems, it turns out there’s an easy way to break this pattern.
According to researchers at Binghamton University, when you go to bed and how long you sleep at a time actually make it difficult for you to stop worrying. The study, which appears in Springer’s journal Cognitive Therapy and Research this month, found that people who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed very late at night are often overwhelmed with more negative thoughts than those who have more traditional sleeping hours.
Repetitive negative thinking is defined as when people have bothersome pessimistic thoughts that seem to repeat in their minds without the person feeling as though he or she has much control over these contemplations. They tend to worry excessively about the future, delve too much in the past and experience annoying intrusive thoughts. Such thoughts are often common in people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. These individuals also tend to have sleep problems, although this was the first study to look at the link between having such repetitive thoughts and the actual time when someone goes to bed.
After surveying 100 young adults, Binghamton University researchers found that people who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed later often experience more repetitive negative thoughts than others. Their recommendation was that counselors recommend going to bed earlier and making eight hours of sleep a priority as a first line intervention for individuals who are bothered by intrusive thoughts.
Who would have guessed that skipping your late night Netflix binges in favor of a few extra hours of sleep could provide such a mood boost?
photo credit: Shutterstock