This common sleep habit is dialling up your anxiety

By on January 12, 2018

This common sleep habit is dialling up your anxiety

This common sleep habit is dialling up your anxiety

Rachelle Bergstein New York Post

A lack of sleep makes us irritable and grumpy, but it could be having even more of a negative effect on us, according to a new study.

Photo: iStock

Add this to your list of worries when you’re tossing and turning.

Researchers at Binghamton University in New York State have discovered a link between disordered sleep and intrusive, repetitive thoughts.

The scientists believe these thought patterns can lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

According to their research, sleep-deprived people have a harder time turning away from “negative stimuli” — meaning that they’re likelier to fixate on negative situations, thoughts and feelings.

For example, they might spend longer staring at a car crash and fretting about it after driving by.

For the study, scientists tracked the eye movements of 52 adults as they looked at positive, neutral and negative images.

Sure enough, sleep-deprived participants were more likely to linger on the bad ones.This finding implies that a good night’s rest — eight hours for adults — is critical for helping the brain disengage from threatening information, study co-author and psychology professor Meredith Coles said.

Worse, exhaustion makes it more difficult to distinguish real perils (an attacking bear) from imaginary ones (a rustle in the bushes).

How to fall asleep in 60 seconds0:37

A step-by-step guide on how to fall asleep in just 60 seconds.

The fix, at least, could be simple.

To get relief from nagging, unpleasant thoughts, try getting some shut-eye.If this report convinces ruminators to get their eight hours in, Prof Coles will count it as a win.

“If [they] shift their sleep schedule and have less symptoms, that’s great,” she said.

This article initially appeared on the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.


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