• Fri. Sep 24th, 2021

New Study Reveals How Sleep Affects Emotions

ByMollie Gifford

Aug 17, 2021
New study reveals how sleep affects emotions photo

In a recent study from the University of British Columbia, scientists found that a single bad night’s sleep is enough to alter the way we react to emotional events the next day. Specifically, the scientists found that lack of sleep not only makes stressful events seem more stressful but also makes joyful events seem less joyful.

It is not news that sleep and emotions are deeply connected. For example, many parents complain that they have a baby who will not stop complaining and crying and will not let them sleep, but do you know that sleep is as important for the emotional stability of adults as it is for young children?

In a recent study from the University of British Columbia, scientists found that a single bad night’s sleep is enough to alter the way we react to emotional events the next day. Specifically, the scientists found that lack of sleep not only makes stressful events seem more stressful but also makes joyful events seem less joyful.

Here’s how they conducted the study: Nancy Sin, an assistant professor in UBC’s department of psychology, and her team collected subjective data daily from a sample of nearly 2,000 Americans (1982 adults, ages 33-84, 57 % women). Participants reported sociodemography and chronic conditions at the beginning of the study and then completed telephone interviews for 8 consecutive days about their sleep duration, daily stressors, positive events, and their effect. Daily stressors included, among others: arguments, social tensions, work and family stress, discrimination, etc. Daily positive events included meeting friends, receiving good news, and spending time in nature.

Sin and her team concluded that when participants slept less than usual, they responded to stressful events with “a greater loss of positive emotions.” Similarly, they responded to positive events with less positive emotion than they would have if they had slept the recommended 7-9 hours.

Sin explained it like this: “When people experience something positive, like being hugged or spending time in nature, they usually feel happier that day,” she explained. “But we found that when a person sleeps less than usual, she doesn’t have as much drive in positive emotions from her positive events.”

Sin’s findings were significant for several reasons. First, this research adds another dimension to existing research on the relationship between sleep and emotions.

Most of the research to date on sleep and emotions focuses primarily on the relationship between sleep and the amygdala, the brain structure responsible for processing strong and negative emotions such as fear, stress, anger, and anger. aggression.

Many studies have concluded that sleep deprivation leads to an overactive amygdala and excess stress hormones the next day, ultimately contributing to a person’s irritability and overall emotional state. However, there is not much research that examines the subject from the other angle: if sleep affects positive emotions and how it does it. Fortunately, Sin and her team are determined to change that.

Sin’s findings are also important for investigating the relationship between sleep deprivation and depression. For decades, scientists have viewed sleep deprivation as a symptom of depression. In recent years, they are discovering that sleep deprivation can actually be a cause of depression. That being said, they are still not entirely sure how this sleep deprivation leads to depression. Fortunately, Sin’s research can provide some necessary insights.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one of the most common symptoms of depression is “loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities.” Also, according to Sin’s research, sleep deprivation leads to a lack of positive emotions (or pleasure) from positive events. Sin’s research may help scientists explain the connection between sleep deprivation and depression.

Finally, Sin’s research could also help explain the relationship between sleep and resilience from illness and injury.

In recent years, scientists have been investigating the effects of positive emotion on recovery. They have found that positive emotions can speed up and enhance recovery.

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