Home Medizin Schlafverlust ist mit verminderter Positivität und erhöhter Angst verbunden

Schlafverlust ist mit verminderter Positivität und erhöhter Angst verbunden

von NFI Redaktion

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, the research of more than 50 years on sleep deprivation and mood, revealed that sleep deprivation can not only make us tired, but it can also impair our emotional function, weaken positive moods, and lead us to a higher risk of anxiety symptoms.

„In our society, which is largely affected by sleep deprivation, quantifying the effects of sleep loss on emotions is crucial for promoting mental health,“ said Cara Palmer, PhD, the main author of the study at Montana State University. „This study provides the most comprehensive synthesis of experimental sleep and emotion research to date, demonstrating strong evidence that longer periods of wakefulness, shortened sleep duration, and nocturnal awakenings negatively affect human emotional functions.“

Cara Palmer, PhD, Main author of the study at Montana State University

The study was published in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

Palmer and her colleagues, including co-main author Joanne Bower, PhD, from the University of East Anglia, analyzed data from 154 studies over five decades, involving a total of 5,715 participants. In all these studies, researchers disrupted the participants‘ sleep for one or more nights. In some experiments, participants were kept awake for extended periods. In other cases, they were allowed to sleep for shorter than usual and regularly woken throughout the night. In each study, at least one emotion-related variable was measured after sleep manipulation, such as mood reported by the participants, their reaction to emotional stimuli, as well as measurements of depression and anxiety symptoms.

Overall, the researchers found that all three types of sleep loss in the participants led to less positive emotions such as joy, happiness, and contentment, as well as increased anxiety symptoms such as rapid heart rate and increased worries.

„This occurred even after short periods of sleep loss, such as staying up one or two hours later than usual or after losing only a couple of hours of sleep,“ said Palmer. „We also found that sleep loss heightened anxiety symptoms and dulled the arousal in response to emotional stimuli.“

The results in terms of depression symptoms were smaller and less consistent, as were the results for negative emotions such as sadness, worry, and stress.

One limitation of the study is that the majority of participants were young adults – with an average age of 23 years. Future research should include a more diverse age sample to better understand how sleep deprivation affects people of different ages, the researchers say. Further directions for future research could be to look at the effects of several nights of sleep loss, examine individual differences to find out why some people may be more vulnerable to the effects of sleep loss than others, and to examine the effects of sleep loss in different cultures, as most of the research in the current study was conducted in the United States and Europe, according to the researchers.

„Studies have shown that more than 30 percent of adults and up to 90 percent of teenagers do not get enough sleep,“ said Palmer. „The implications of this research on individual and public health are significant in a society largely affected by sleep deprivation. Industries and sectors vulnerable to sleep deprivation, such as first responders, pilots, and truck drivers, should develop and implement guidelines that prioritize sleep to alleviate the risks to daily function and well-being.“


American Psychological Association

Journal reference:

Palmer, C., et al. (year). Sleep Loss and Emotion: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Over 50 Years of Experimental Research. Psychological Bulletin. doi.org/10.1037/bul0000410.

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