Experiencing sleep problems has been linked to repetitive negative thinking (RNT), and so is late bedtime or sleep timing, according to a recent study. Dr Meredith Coles and Jacob Nota of Binghampton University in New York were able to establish the correlation between bedtime and prolonged negative thinking. People who have this irrepressible tendency to think discouragingly about life can be apprehensive and cynical about previous experiences or upcoming events. According to the authors of this study, individuals who have this condition suffer from multiple anxiety and depressive disorders. These people usually have trouble sleeping as well.

The researchers analysed 100 students for this study. The subjects were instructed to accomplish survey forms and computerised tests. These assessments were used to measure levels of apprehension, pondering and preoccupation on certain thoughts. Next, the students had to indicate whether they are morning people or night owls, and they had to describe their sleep routine, too. The findings show that those who had inadequate sleep, slept late, and preferred activity at night experienced repetitive negative thinking, unlike those who slept well and went to bed early. Based on these results, the researchers believe that individuals who are at the brink of developing the negative thought syndrome should focus on getting enough sleep. Jacob Nota explains that observing proper bedtime could be the practical intervention for people who are troubled by RNT.

The researchers would be pursuing more studies on analysing sleep data to confirm if this can aid in the therapy of individuals with anxiety disorders. According to Coles, if more findings substantiate their recent research, this could contribute to alternative treatments for people with psychiatric disorders. The study on the relationship between sleep timing and RNT was published in the December issue of the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research.

Sleep timing and duration has been altered by modern lifestyle. Various factors such as work shifts, domestic concerns and new forms of home entertainment, have caused these inevitable changes. However, it is still important to see to it that enough sleep is not compromised. Many studies have proved the harmful effects of sleep deprivation on physical and mental health and on the quality of life.