Sleep Deprivation and Unwanted Thoughts Are Linked To Each Other, Research Proves

A sleep-deprived person is highly likely to deal with unpleasant thoughts when trying to sleep. This may also cause other psychiatric disorders.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Oct 22, 2020Updated at: Oct 22, 2020
Sleep Deprivation and Unwanted Thoughts Are Linked To Each Other, Research Proves

If you are struggling with brain fog and unavoidable thoughts, watch your sleep cycle. Interrupted sleep, reduced sleep hours, sleep deprivation, etc. are the main reasons behind you getting negative thoughts. After a long day at work, you try to sleep but couldn’t as unwanted thoughts are brimming in your head and you are unable to avoid them. You are not alone, a lot of people are facing this issue lately. Researchers have found the reason why we are unable to get rid of unpleasant thoughts.

Sleep deprivation is a concerning issue that raises many health risks. A team of researchers from the University of New York found that sleep deprivation can leave psychological impacts on people. Those who are already dealing with psychiatric issues are highly likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, unwanted thoughts, etc. People who are sleep-deprived have 2 times higher risk of unwanted thoughts.

Research was done on sleep-deprived people


To find how sleep controls thoughts, researchers closely studied people where one group was of well-rested people and second groups contained sleep-deprived people. The latter group has 50% higher chances of getting unpleasant thoughts as compared to the former group.

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Dr. Marcus Harrington from the Psychology Department at the University of York and lead author of this study said: “In everyday life, mundane encounters can remind us of unpleasant experiences. For example, a car driving too fast on the motorway might cause us to retrieve unwanted memories from a car accident many years ago. For most people, thought intrusions pass quickly, but for those suffering from psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, they can be repetitive, uncontrollable, and distressing.”

“It is clear that the ability to suppress unwanted thoughts varies dramatically between individuals, but until now the factors that drive this variability have been mysterious. Our study suggests sleep loss has a considerable impact on our ability to keep unwanted thoughts out of our minds,” he added.

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As per Dr. Scott Cairney, senior author of this study said: “This study offers an important insight into the impact of sleep on mental health. Besides post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, our findings might have implications for our understanding of other disorders linked to sleep disturbances, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.”


“The study also suggests that the onset of intrusive thoughts and emotional disturbances following bouts of poor sleep could create a vicious cycle, whereby upsetting intrusions and emotional distress exacerbate sleep problems, inhibiting the sleep needed to support recovery,” added Cairney.

Thus, to keep unwanted thoughts at bay, you must manage your sleep. Eat good and exercise daily to sleep peacefully and manage your health.

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