Research shows that a range of health conditions are associated with a lack of sleep. A new study from researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, investigates the psychological — rather than physical — implications of missed sleep.
The scientists found that after an insufficient night of sleep, people have a reduced capacity for remaining positive when faced with emotionally challenging events. They are also less able to enjoy positive experiences.
The lead author of the study, health psychologist Nancy Sin of UBC, describes how this results in more stressful days for people who do not get enough sleep:
“When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day. But we found that when a person sleeps less than their usual amount, they don’t have as much of a boost in positive emotions from their positive events.”
Stress is associated with a range of harmful effects, compounding the damage done by sleep deficits.
The study appears in the journal Health Psychology.