a pair of studies shows.
Alexithymia is a condition characterized by difficulty identifying and expressing one’s emotions. “The mechanism by which alexithymia confers risk of disrupted sleep remains unclear, [but] suggestions include increased nocturnal arousal as a result of poor verbalization of emotions and increased light sleep,” wrote, citing previous research.
The researchers found associations between total alexithymia scores and reduced sleep quality (P less than .001). They also found a significant association between the TAS-20 subscales and reduced sleep quality (all P less than .006).
In the second study, in which 73 men and women participated, Ms. Murphy and her associates sought to determine whether the association found in the first study was tied to depression or anxiety. Participants went online and completed three questionnaires: the TAS-20; the PSQI; and the Depression, Anxiety, & Stress Scale, orin a randomized order. Higher scores on the DASS-21 correlate with greater levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. None of the questionnaires asked about any aspects of sleep.
Ms. Murphy said in an interview that although it might be too early to make a clear clinical recommendation, the results suggest that “clinicians should be aware of the possibility of sleep problems characterized by heightened alexithymia and more generally in those with alexithymia.”