Late Bedtime May Exacerbate OCD Symptoms

Individuals that are diagnosed with OCD (or show symptoms of OCD) may be negatively affected by their bedtime. Meredith Coles (Professor at Binghamton University) worked with her medical school colleague, Jessica Schubert to conduct a study that shows that the time of night a person goes to bed can be linked to the presence of their OCD symptoms. 30 participants were included in this study in which their bed times were recorded. The average bedtime for the participants was 12:30 AM, however about 40% of participants went to bed around 3:00 AM. These 40% met the criteria for delayed sleep phase disorder which affected their bedtime.

While this study is in the early stages, both researchers believe this phenomenon should be explored further. Ms. Coles stated that when you sleep is just as important as how many hours of sleep you get a night. This has to do with the individuals circadian rhythm. Upon further investigation, the researchers hope to find specific negative consequences to the later bedtimes in individuals with OCD. Following the current study, Ms. Coles hopes to collect data by helping the individuals shift their bedtimes through the use of light boxes. The goal is that by shifting their bedtimes, the individual can decrease their OCD symptoms and gain better control of their behaviors and thoughts.

Key Points:

  • 1An adult issupposed to get an average of 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • 2What time we go to sleep affects our circadian rhythm.
  • 3Around 40% of OCD patients may have delayed sleep phase disorder.

New research out of Binghamton University in New York found that people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) who go to bed later have lower perceived control over their obsessive thoughts.

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