Less sleep makes stressful days feel worse: Study

Sleep may impact a person’s psychological perception of stress, research suggests

Getting less sleep could be linked to having a stronger emotional reaction to stressful events, according to new research.

“Specifically, nights of shorter-than-usual sleep duration predicted more pronounced decreases in positive affect in response to daily stressors, as well as smaller increases in positive affect in response to daily positive events,” researchers from The University of British Columbia and Pennsylvania State University wrote in the results of the sleep study’s manuscript.

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Nearly 2,000 American adults between the ages of 33 and 84 were surveyed for eight consecutive days, which questioned their sleep duration, daily stressors, the number of positive events they experienced and how it affected them throughout the day.

Overall, respondents generally reported they had a less stressful day whenever they received more sleep.

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Additionally, respondents who had a chronic condition were found to be “more reactive to positive events” when they received more sleep per day.

“When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day,” said Nancy Sin, an assistant professor in UBC’s department of psychology, regarding the study’s findings. “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.”

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Not getting enough sleep can make a person feel like they are having a more stessful day. (iStock)

Not getting enough sleep can make a person feel like they are having a more stessful day. (iStock)

She added that the current “recommended guideline for a good night’s sleep is at least seven hours.” It is estimated that one in three adults fail to meet this health requirement.

Improving sleep duration long-term is not only suggested to make stressful days easier, it is also said to potentially minimize risks associated with mental disorders, chronic health conditions or even premature death.

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