Going To Bed Late Causes Less Control Over OCD Symptoms, Research Finds
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: April 3, 2019
Research presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies suggests that people who go to bed late have less control over their OCD symptoms. You can read the press release about their findings below:
People who go to bed late have less control over OCD symptoms
BINGHAMTON, NY - A late bedtime is associated with lower perceived control of obsessive thoughts, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith E. Coles and former graduate student Jessica Schubert (now at University of Michigan Medical School) monitored twenty individuals diagnosed with OCD and ten individuals endorsing subthreshold OCD symptoms during one week of sleep. Participants completed sleep diaries and daily ratings of perceived degree of control over obsessive thoughts and ritualized behaviors. The researchers found that previous night's bedtime significantly predicted participants' perceived ability to control their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior on the subsequent day.
"We're really interested in how this kind of unusual timing of sleep might affect cognitive functioning," said Schubert. "One possibility is impulse control. It might be that something about shifting the timing of your sleep might reduce your ability to control your thoughts and your behaviors, so it might make it more likely that you're going to have a hard time dismissing intrusive thoughts characteristic of obsessions, and it might make it more difficult for you to refrain from compulsive behaviors that are designed to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts."
On average participants in the study went to bed around 12:30 at night. Patients who met criteria for delayed sleep phase disorder, about 40% of the sample, went to bed around 3 a.m.
"I always knew you were supposed to get eight hours of sleep, but I was never told it matters when you do it," said Coles. "It's been striking to me that this difference seems to be very specific to the circadian component of when you sleep. That we find that there are specific negative consequences of sleeping at the wrong times, that's something to educate the public about."
The researchers are interested in exploring this phenomenon further. Coles plans on collecting pilot data using lightboxes to shift people's bedtimes. "It's one of our first efforts to actually shift their bedtimes and see if it reduces their OCD symptoms, and if this improves their ability to resist those intrusive thoughts and not develop compulsions in response to them."
Disclaimer: anxietycentre.com is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted at anxietycentre.com by contributing institutions or for the use of any information throughout anxietycentre.com's system.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
Anxiety attacks can be powerful and overwhelming experiences. But there is help available. We encourage you to explore our website for a comprehensive understanding of anxiety, anxiety attacks, disorders, and their signs and symptoms.
Also, for more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; information about Anxiety Attacks, Symptoms, and Treatment options; the signs and symptoms of panic attacks disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
Return to our anxiety research page.