Study: Consecutive nights of sleep deprivation may significantly impair your mental, physical well-being

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According to the findings of a recent study, it only takes three consecutive nights of sleep deprivation to significantly impair your mental and physical well-being. A new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine examined the consequences of sleeping less than six hours for eight consecutive nights – the recommended minimum amount of sleep for average adults.

Soomi Lee, lead author and assistant professor in the University of South Florida’s School of Aging Studies, discovered that the greatest increase in symptoms occurred after just one night of sleep loss. The number of mental and physical problems increased steadily throughout the day, reaching a zenith on day three.

At that point, research indicates that the human body became relatively accustomed to repeated sleep deprivation. That all changed on day six, when participants reported their physical symptoms were at their most severe.

“Many of us believe that we can make up for lost sleep on weekends and be more productive during the week,” Lee explained. “However, the findings of this study indicate that even one night of sleep deprivation can significantly impair daily functioning.”

Nearly 2,000 middle-aged adults who were relatively healthy and well-educated were included in the Midlife in the United States study. 42% of them reported at least one night of sleep deprivation, sleeping an hour and a half less than their typical routines. They kept a diary of their mental and physical behaviours for eight consecutive days, allowing researchers to examine how sleep deprivation affects the body’s wear and tear.

As a result of sleep deprivation, participants reported an accumulation of angry, nervous, lonely, irritable, and frustrated feelings. Additionally, they reported more physical symptoms, including upper respiratory problems, aches, gastrointestinal problems, and other health problems.

These negative emotions and symptoms remained elevated throughout consecutive sleep deprivation days and did not return to baseline levels until after a night of more than six hours of sleep.

Around a third of adults in the United States sleep less than six hours per night. Lee explains that once this becomes a habit, it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to fully recover from sleep deprivation, perpetuating the vicious cycle of deteriorating daily well-being, which can have a negative impact on one’s career.

A previous study led by Lee discovered that losing just 16 minutes of sleep can have a negative effect on job performance. Additionally, her previous research indicates that even minor sleep loss can impair daily mindfulness, a critical resource for managing stress and adhering to healthy routines.

According to Lee, the best way to maintain a high level of daily performance is to schedule more than six hours of sleep each night.

source: ANI

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