Mental health impacted by number of hours of sleep, say scientists

Scientists have linked lack of sleep with an increased risk of certain mental health conditions following an extensive study.

The report shows that people who sleep less than eight hours per night are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.

The authors say individuals struggling with negative thoughts about themselves are less likely to get a good night’s sleep.

Around 52 participants completed questionnaires regarding their sleep while researchers carried out an assessment of their mental health. One such test included showing participants photographs of negative images. Those who slept less during the night tended to focus more heavily on the images

Author Professor Meredith Coles, from Binghamton University, said: “We found that people in this study have some tendencies to have thoughts get stuck in their heads, and their elevated negative thinking makes it difficult for them to disengage with the negative stimuli that we exposed them to.

“We realised over time that this might be important – this repetitive negative thinking is relevant to several different disorders like anxiety, depression and many other things.”