Study: People React Better When They Get Enough Sleep

Research shows that following eight hours of sleep people handle trauma and stressful events much better than with fewer hours of sleep.

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Recent research from the University of British Columbia found that after a night of shorter sleep, people react more emotionally to stressful events the next day. The study, led by assistant professor of psychology Nancy Sin, examined the link between sleep how almost 2,000 people perceived both stressful and positive events in daily life. Those who experienced a shorter night of sleep also didn't find much joy in the good things.

"When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day," noted Sin. "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."

Study participants reported several stressful events in their daily lives: social tensions, arguments, work stress, family stress and discrimination. Those who slept less than usual responded to the events with a “greater loss of positive emotions,” which has negative health implications.

"The recommended guideline for a good night's sleep is at least seven hours, yet one in three adults don't meet this standard," said Sin. "A large body of research has shown that inadequate sleep increases the risk for mental disorders, chronic health conditions, and premature death. My study adds to this evidence by showing that even minor night-to-night fluctuations in sleep duration can have consequences in how people respond to events in their daily lives."

Sin concludes that making sleep a priority will help promote both quality of life and long-term health.


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