For the study, researchers set out to test how well participants could manage intrusive, negative thoughts after being sleep deprived.
As lead author of the study, Marcus Harrington, Ph.D., notes in a news release, “For most people, thought intrusions pass quickly, but for those suffering with psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, they can be repetitive, uncontrollable, and distressing.”
The 60 people participating were shown pictures of negative versus neutral scenes, and asked to associate certain faces with each scene. That night, half the participants slept normally while the other half were deprived of sleep. They were then shown the same faces the next day, and asked to suppress thoughts about the scene each one was associated with.
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