Sleep deprivation can make you less likely to think positively

By Karin Lillis • Published: October 20th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

After a rough night of trying to sleep, you might feel a little groggy and grouchy. No big deal, right? Not necessarily — at least according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania.

A regular lack of sleep is linked to numerous health issues, including high blood pressure, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression and other mood disorders.

If restlessness is a rare occurrence, it’s likely that you’ll have no lasting side effects. But if lack of shut-eye becomes part of your regular routine, it might affect your ability to see things in a positive light, according to the results of a study published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research.

The researchers divided 40 people into two groups — one kept awake for 28 hours straight and the other allowed to sleep for a full eight hours. Participants took a computer test that gauged their ability to accurately identify pictures of happy, sad or neutral faces — measuring how they responded to positive and negative information. Those suffering from a lack of sleep were less likely to focus on the positive.

Sometimes the answer is practicing better sleep hygiene. That includes using the bedroom for sleep only, keeping the room cool and dark, and putting away the cell phone or other electronic devices before you hit the sheets.

But sleep problems, as well as feelings of sadness, emptiness or anxiousness, can be serious signs of depression. And chronic sleep deprivation can amplify those symptoms, the researchers noted. If that’s the case, medical experts recommend that you don’t delay. Be sure to talk to your health care provider.