When you close your eyes to go to bed, do you hear silence or are you bombarded with worries and thoughts rushing through your head? You might think that it's your busy schedule or your stressful job keeping you up at night, but the real root of your nocturnal anxiety problem might be the time you choose to hit the sack, according to research published in Cognitive Therapy and Research.
It's unsurprising that ruminating on negative thoughts has previously been linked to sleep issues, depression, and anxiety disorders. In the latest study, researchers found that individuals who went to bed later or got less sleep experienced more negative thoughts than others. Furthermore, sleep disruptionmay also generate repetitive negative thinking.
"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 researcher Meredith Coles, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Binghamton University. "Studying the relation between reductions in sleep duration and psychopathology has already demonstrated that focusing on sleep in the clinic also leads to reductions in symptoms of psychopathology."
To moe your sleep schedule up an hour, these natural remedies for jet lag will work like a charm.
If you want to add an extra layer of protection against ruminating thoughts, consider trying meditation. Mark Williams, PhD, author of Mindfulness, explains that wrestling rumination is a common issue in mediation. "You may even want to put your head in your hands in despair at ever achieving a calm state of mind," he says. "But these moments are not signs of failure."
Instead, he explains, these are learning opportunities. By paying attention to where the mind goes, you learn that your mind has a mind of its own. "You will gradually come to learn that your thoughts are not you—you do not have to take them so personally," Williams says. "You can simply watch these states of mind as they arise, stay a while, and then dissolve."