advertisement
Home » News » Night Owls May Find It Harder to Control OCD
Night Owls May Find It Harder to Control OCD

Night Owls May Find It Harder to Control OCD

New research finds the time a person goes to bed can influence their perceived ability to control obsessive thoughts.

Investigators from Binghamton University, State University of New York, monitored 20 individuals diagnosed with OCD and 10 endorsing sub-threshold OCD symptoms during one week of sleep.

The research was led by Dr. Meredith E. Coles and former graduate student Jessica Schubert (now at University of Michigan Medical School).

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.”

The average bedtime for participants in the study was around 12:30 a.m. Patients who met criteria for delayed sleep phase disorder, about 40 percent of the sample, went to bed around 3:00 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.”

Source: Binghamton University

Night Owls May Find It Harder to Control OCD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Night Owls May Find It Harder to Control OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/06/21/night-owls-may-find-it-harder-to-control-ocd/122233.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 Jun 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jun 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.