Going to bed early and keeping regular sleeping hours can reduce negative thoughts and worries, according to recent research at Binghamton University in New York.
The study involved 100 BU students who were asked to fill out multiple questionnaires and perform two computerized tasks intended to assess their levels of repetitive negative thinking by gauging how much they worry, ruminate and obsess.
They were also asked to respond to questions pertaining to their sleeping habits - what time they hit the hay and whether this was regular or staggered depending on exams and social events.
Those who described themselves as evening types, and those with short sleep durations and late bedtimes, reported experiencing more repetitive negative thoughts than those who kept a regular sleep schedule and slept for longer stretches, say the researchers.
Their findings also demonstrate that repetitive negative thinking is linked to sleep disruption and the research team strongly encourages those at risk of developing a mental health disorder to lend time to their sleep.
"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," says study co-author Meredith Coles.
Inspiration for the study came from the preponderance of links and associations between sleep problems and mental health troubles both minor and major, according to the researchers.
The study was published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research.
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