There is a strong connection between the amount of sleep we get, sleep quality and our mood. One research team explains why interrupted sleep is worst for your mood, in a paper published in the Sleep journal.
The team of researchers from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, led by Ph.D. Patrick Finan, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences here, looked at how different sleep patterns influence our mood.
The small-scale study included 62 participants, both male and female. All participants were healthy and hadn’t been diagnosed with any sleep-related conditions. At the onset of the experiment, the participants were randomly assigned to three groups.
One group and perhaps the luckiest one, was assigned to follow an uninterrupted sleep pattern. The second group was forced to delay bedtime hours compared to their typical rhythm. The third group experienced forced awakenings each night of the experiment.
Previous research has linked getting an adequate amount of sleep each night to a reduced likelihood of suffering from depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. While there is an ongoing debate over how many hours of sleep are considered an adequate number, increasingly more emphasis is placed on the quality of sleep we get each night.
With the new research, quality of sleep was emphasized once more. The team explains why interrupted sleep is worst for your mood, according to the findings of the three-day experiment.
When assessing the participants’ mood, the research team found that the group for which bedtimes were pushed later in the night showed a 12 percent decline. Compared to the group left to sleep uninterrupted, the participants in the group where sleep was interrupted each night showed a 31 percent decline in positive mood.
Each participant’s mood was assessed before bedtime, and their sleep stages were measured thoroughly to understand how much sleep did each of the participants got each night of the experiment.
Patrick Finan declared:
“When you sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don’t have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration”.
After the first night of the experiment, both participants for whom bedtime was delayed and participants who were woken up several times throughout the night reported a decline in positive mood. After the second night short-sleepers’ positive mood remained largely at the same level. With participants in the interrupted sleep group, positive mood registered an even more abrupt decline.
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