Less than 8 hours of sleep psychologically dangerous – Study

I have written extensively about how important a good night’s sleep is to living a healthy life. Now, it seems there are potential psychological vulnerabilities, too. I will give the link at the end of post.

Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.


Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and former graduate student Jacob Nota assessed the timing and duration of sleep in individuals with moderate to high levels of repetitive negative thoughts (e.g., worry and rumination). The research participants were exposed to different pictures intended to trigger an emotional response, and researchers tracked their attention through their eye movements. The researchers discovered that regular sleep disruptions are associated with difficulty in shifting one’s attention away from negative information. This may mean that inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives .

“We found that people in this study have some tendencies to have thoughts get stuck in their heads, and their elevated negative thinking makes it difficult for them to disengage with the negative stimuli that we exposed them to,” said Coles. “While other people may be able to receive negative information and move on, the participants had trouble ignoring it.”

These negative thoughts are believed to leave people vulnerable to different types of psychological disorders, such as anxiety or depression, said Coles.

“We realized over time that this might be important — this repetitive negative thinking is relevant to several different disorders like anxiety, depression and many other things,” said Coles. “This is novel in that we’re exploring the overlap between sleep disruptions and the way they affect these basic processes that help in ignoring those obsessive negative thoughts.”

The researchers are further exploring this discovery, evaluating how the timing and duration of sleep may also contribute to the development or maintenance of psychological disorders. If their theories are correct, their research could potentially allow psychologists to treat anxiety and depression by shifting patients’ sleep cycles to a healthier time or making it more likely a patient will sleep when they get in bed.

Here is the link to my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep. I recommend your checking it out for further information on this important subject.

1 Comment

Filed under anxiety, depression, good night's sleep, sleep, sleep deprivation

One response to “Less than 8 hours of sleep psychologically dangerous – Study

  1. Being a recovering alcoholic who has lived through these repetitive negative thoughts, I can tell you that for people like me, this is putting the cart before the horse.

    First, the psychologists have hypotheses, that if correct (they’re not) will become theories, but that’s inside pool as scientific speak goes – splitting hairs but important nonetheless.

    That negative repetitive thinking is caused by improper life decision which has a deleterious affect on sleep. The more one’s actions counter good, orderly direction, the greater the pull of the thinking, the less one will be able to sleep. You’re not going to fix that with a pill. That’s only one aspect though. There’s work stress, fear of the future, there’s the alcoholic’s bane, the poor decision reaction stress… The root of these stressors are legion but the fix is simple: We have to learn to make good choices and to everything we can to live a good life so we can sleep knowing we’ve done all we can for a given period, then we have to practice shutting down the thinking before it has a chance to get going if we wake up before it’s time.

    They’re trying to say if we just sleep, that’ll all work itself out. I’m here to tell you, we can’t fix all of that “wrong” with sleep when we can’t shut down the hamster wheel once it gets going.

    Liked by 1 person

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