16 Dec Up All Night: The Effects of Sleep Loss on Mood
Last night you stayed up late (out with friends, taking care of crying child, preparing for a presentation, watching marathon episodes of your favorite show), and today, when you’re already running low on sleep, it seems as if the whole world is out to get you. Why is everyone so irritating? Why is the traffic so bad? Who are these awful drivers? Or wait… could it just be you? Sleep deprivation affects mood and the equation is very basic: sleep deprivation = increases in negative mood and decreases in positive mood. But let’s break that down a bit more.
The effects of sleep on negative mood. Both correlational and experimental (yes, researchers actually bring people into labs and keep them up all night… any volunteers?) evidence suggest that when people are sleep deprived, they feel more irritable, angry and hostile. Sleep loss is also associated with feeling more depressed. In addition, sleep deprivation seems to be associated with greater emotional reactivity –people who suffer from sleep loss are especially likely to react negatively when something doesn’t go well for them. For those of you interested in the brain – some research suggests that sleep deprivation enhances negative mood due to increased amygdala activity (a brain structure integral to experiences of negative emotions such as anger and rage) and a disconnect between the amygdale and the area of the brain that regulates its functions. In other words: sleep loss leads to increased negative mood, and decreased ability to regulate that anger!
To read full article, Psychology Today.