Are you the type who rarely sleeps eight hours? In fact, you can’t imagine staying in bed that long? According to Vincent’s research, many individuals who sleep fewer than eight hours a day have a tendency to be highly self-critical. This could be because “you’re having harsh thoughts about yourself when you wake up during the night and when you attempt to fall asleep,” she says.
Alternatively, the connection might be a result of being anxious in general. “You might tend to sleep shorter because you are in a chronic state of tension,” she says.
Both over-sleeping and under-sleeping are associated with a higher than usual risk of death. No one has explained the connection with long sleep—but short sleep is known to increase blood pressure, which raises the risk for heart disease and stroke.
To improve short sleep linked with anxiety and self-criticism, Vincent suggests separating “worry time” and bedtime.
“We ask [patients] to schedule a time to have worrisome thoughts several hours before bedtime,” she says. “It sounds very simplistic but