Category: Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders
Recent research has highlighted the role of sleep disturbance in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (Nota, Sharkey, & Coles, 2015). Indeed, studies examining the relationship between sleep disturbance and specific OC symptoms indicate a unique relationship between sleep disturbance and obsessions (Raines et al., 2015), even when controlling for depression (Timpano, Carbonella, Bernert, & Schmidt, 2014). However, previous research has relied on self-report measures of sleep disturbance, and no study to date has utilized objective sleep measures to examine this relationship. Likewise, extant research has utilized only retrospective measures, which may differ from measures of nightly sleep, such as a sleep diary. To address this gap in the literature, the present study used a multimethod approach to examine the relationship between sleep disturbance and obsessions. A sample of healthy college students (n = 136) completed self-report measures of sleep disturbance (Insomnia Severity Index; Morin, Belleville, Belanger, & Ivers, 2011) and a week of at-home sleep assessment during which time nightly sleep was measured objectively subjectively with a sleep diary (Consensus Sleep Diary; Carney et al., 2012) and objectively with actigraphy. Actigraphy sleep parameters were estimated using the Sadeh algorithm (Sadeh, Sharkey, & Carskadon, 1994). Participants then completed self-report measures of depression (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-Depression subscale; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) and obsessions (Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised-Obsessions subscale; Foa et al., 2002). Results indicated that increased obsessions were associated with self-reported sleep disturbance (r = .40, p < .001), decreased subjective time in bed (TIB) (r = -.31, p < .01), increased subjective sleep efficiency (r = .28, p < .05), and decreased objective total sleep time (TST) (r = -.27, p < .05). After controlling for depression, all correlations remained significant, with the exception of objective TST, which was reduced to trend level (p = .08). These findings replicate previous research linking sleep disturbance to obsessions independent of depression and extend these results by highlighting specific nightly sleep parameters that may be particularly important to the experience of obsessions. Taken together, the present findings regarding TIB, TST, and sleep efficiency suggest that decreased sleep time and opportunity and increased homeostatic sleep drive may increase the risk of experiencing intrusive cognition, such as obsessions. Future research utilizing prospective designs is necessary to determine the temporal relationship between these processes.