People with anxiety and/or depression often think that they have some moral defect to cause their ruminating, intrusive thoughts. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is not your fault, at all. There are many factors that modern Westerners simply don’t take into account.
Sleeping less than the eight hours per night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, says new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
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.
Binghamton Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and 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.