Sleep More, Worry Less

It's no secret that negative thoughts—the kind that circle around and around in your mind— can make it harder to sleep. Maybe you're nervous about taking on a new role in an upcoming performance, or daunted by a busy rehearsal schedule. Previous research has noted the link between lack of sleep and the development of repetitive negative thoughts. But a new study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research found that when you go to bed, as well as how long you sleep at a time, could affect your ability to stop worrying.

Researchers asked 100 students at Binghamton University to complete a set of questionnaires and computerized tasks, to measure how much they ruminate. The students were also questioned about their sleeping habits, such as whether they considered themselves "morning" or "night" people, and whether they followed a routine sleeping schedule. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the results showed that people who get to bed later and sleep for shorter periods tend to have more negative thoughts during the day than those who keep to a more regular sleeping pattern. This was true even for the self-described night owls. So, to help yourself have a positive outlook even when you're feeling overwhelmed, try turning in a little earlier and bringing some consistency back to your sleep schedule.

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