Recent evidence suggests that sleep problems are associated with psychotic like experiences including paranoia. However, the mechanisms underpinning this association are not well understood and thus studies modelling hypothesised mediating factors are required. Alexithymia, the inability to recognise and describe emotions within the self may be an important candidate. In two separate studies we sought to investigate factors mediating the relationship between sleep quality and paranoia using a cross-sectional design. Healthy volunteers without a mental health diagnosis were recruited (study 1, N = 401, study 2, N = 402). Participants completed a series of measures assessing paranoia, negative emotions, alexithymia and perceptual anomalies in an online survey. In study 1, regression and mediation analyses showed that the relationship between sleep quality and paranoia was partially mediated by alexithymia, perceptual anomalies and negative affect. In contrast, study 2 found that the relationship between sleep quality and paranoia was fully mediated by negative affect, alexithymia and perceptual anomalies. The link between sleep quality and paranoia is unclear and reasons for discrepant results are discussed. Novel findings in this study include the link between alexithymia and paranoia.
Rehman, A., Gumley, A., & Biello, S. (2018). Sleep quality and paranoia: The role of alexithymia, negative emotions and perceptual anomalies. Psychiatry Research, 259, 216–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.09.066