Could your anger be linked to lack of sleep?
NEW RESEARCH in the US has found that even missing out on just a couple of hours sleep a night could make you angrier and diminish your ability to adapt to certain situations. Carried out by researchers at Iowa State University, the new study looked at 142 participants who were randomly assigned to two groups.
One group was asked to maintain their normal sleep routine for a period of two days, while the other was asked to restrict their sleep by two to four hours each night for two nights. Participants also rated their feelings of anger before and after sleep during a test in the lab, in which they were asked to rate products while lis- tening to different background noises, designed to create frustrating situations which could provoke anger.
The findings, published in the Journal of Experimental
Psychology: General, showed that those who maintained their regular sleep pattern got on average almost seven hours of sleep a night, while those in the restricted group got about four and a half hours each night, which the researchers say reflects the amount of sleep loss we regularly experience in everyday life.
In addition, the researchers also found that sleep restriction universally intensified feelings of anger, with co- author Zlatan Krizan adding that sleep loss was found to uniquely impact anger, rather than simply resulting from feeling more negative in that moment.
The study is one of the first to provide evidence that a lack of sleep can spark feelings of anger, with previous research finding a connection but not showing a causal relationship according to the researchers. Sleep loss has also been linked to an increase in negative emotions, such as anxiety and sadness, and a decrease in positive emotions, such as happiness and enthusiasm. “In general, anger was substantially higher for those who were sleep restricted,” Krizan said.–