Study: Sleep loss undermines normal emotional responses

Study: Sleep loss undermines normal emotional responses
Study: Sleep loss undermines normal emotional responses

A lack of normal emotional responses in a person under stressful circumstances does not necessarily mean that person is a cruel person or that that person is mentally ill. The University of Arkansas reported, sleep loss is associated with emotional reactions. Researchers have found that a person’s loss of sleep can be associated with their likelihood of reacting emotionally to a stressful situation.

Matthew T. Feldner, a professor of psychology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, says in this study the researchers wanted to determine if there is an association between the loss of sleep and our emotional response. It was observed if a person lost a night of sleep they responded with greater emotion to a laboratory stressor. This finding supported past work which has found an association between chronic sleep loss and anxiety and mood disorders.

Feldner said a theme which emerged in this study was that certain components of emotion seem to be particularly linked to sleep. Stressors seem to be more emotionally arousing for people who haven’t slept well. Furthermore, it appears that emotional arousal interferes with sleep quality. It is felt by the researchers that by improving sleep it may be possible to improve treatments for anxiety problems.

The book Sleep and Affect reviews the vital association between sleep and emotions. Evidence has emerged that normal sleep plays an emotional regulatory role in healthy people. It is clear that the functions of some of the neurobiological structures which we believe are involved in regulating emotional or affective experiences are negatively influenced by a lack of sleep.

Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine offers some good suggestions to help you sleep well naturally. Avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals which interfere with sleep is very important. Exercise can also help you sleep well naturally. To avoid being kept up from the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain, it’s a good idea to exercise at least three hours prior to going to bed. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete cortisol. So remember it’s a good idea to live a healthy lifestyle to help you sleep well and experience normal emotions.


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