BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Sleep interruptions are worse than lack of sleep according to a new study conducted at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It seems that interrupted sleep can have worse effects than a shorter or delayed amount of sleep.
The subjects involved in the study exhibited a reduced number of positive emotions when their sleep was disturbed, as well as bad moods compared to those who received less sleep or than those delaying receiving the amount of sleep they needed.
According to the research team involved the participants in the study, all of them healthy men and women, were subjected to one of three types of experimental sleep conditions, at random. The 62 volunteers were divided into three groups, each of the groups then experiencing one of the three types of sleep: uninterrupted sleep, forced awakenings and delayed bedtimes.
Researchers were trying to establish whether there was a connection between a person’s time of sleep or whether they suffered from sleep disruptions and the mood changes that occur in people with sleep-related disorders such as insomnia or chronic pains.
As the lead author of the study Patrick Finan explains, when an individual’s sleep is disrupted throughout the night, he or she cannot advance through the sleep stages and thus cannot reach the required amount of slow-wave sleep which is essential to the feeling of restoration. This explains why the person’s mood is affected negatively by an interrupted sleep to quite an extent.
In maintaining a positive mood, there is rather a need for a good quality of sleep than a massive quantity of it, as the study shows. While the groups in the study which experienced delayed bedtimes and uninterrupted sleep for three consecutive nights did not show major differences in the negative moods of the participants, the group experiencing sleep interruptions did show deterioration in positive emotions such as friendliness and sympathy.
Although differences between the groups hardly began to appear after the first night of the experiment, there was a big difference in mood after the second night, unique in each group. The interrupted sleep group showed a 31 percent decrease in positive mood after the second night, while the delayed sleep group only experienced a 12 percent decrease in positive mood at the same time.
The findings may point out that people suffering from affections such as insomnia have a tendency to sleep in fits, for small periods of time and thus are deprived from the restorative deep-wave sleep that the body needs in order to feel well rested.
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