Being a ‘Night Owl’ Can Make You Prone to Anxiety, Study Finds

This is a sunrise. If you haven't seen one in a while, it may indicate that you have more negative thinking.
(Image: Pladkani/
This is a sunrise. If you haven't seen one in a while, it may indicate that you have more negative thinking. (Image: Pladkani/

According to a study from Binghampon University, people who go to bed late at night and those who get less sleep experience more negative thoughts and anxiety.

One hundred subjects completed questionnaires and computer modules that measured how much each person ruminates, obsesses, or worries about something (repetitive negative thinking). The subjects were also asked about their sleep schedule and preferences.

Those people who slept less, or for less hours at once, and those who went to bed late at night, or who described themselves as evening people, had more intrusive, repetitive pessimistic thoughts that they felt they were unable to control, worried excessively about the future, ruminated excessively about their past, or experienced other bothersome thoughts.

This kind of thinking is also strongly correlated with people who suffer from anxiety, depressive, and post-traumatic stress disorders, among others. They also tend to have sleep problems.

“Making sure that sleep is obtained during the right time of day may be an inexpensive and easily disseminable intervention for individuals who are bothered by intrusive thoughts,”said Jacob Nota, the study’s co-author.

The authors believe that people who are bothered by negative or intrusive thinking, and especially those who are at risk of developing this kind of disorder, would be well-served by focusing on getting enough sleep.

The data shows a correlation between negative thinking and sleep patterns.

This does not prove that one causes the other. The researchers state that excessive worry may be disrupting people’s timing and duration of sleep. Another study has also linked later bed times with symptoms of depression. However, studies “have demonstrated that focusing on sleep in a clinic also leads to reductions in symptoms of psychopathology,” says Coles.

Is being a morning person just a healthier lifestyle and disposition in general?

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