Health Day reporter
“A lot of us think we can pay off our sleep debt on weekends and be more productive on weekdays,” said senior author Soomi Lee, assistant professor in the School of Aging Studies at the University of Florida. from South.
“However, the results of this study show that a single night of sleep deprivation can significantly affect your daily functioning,” Lee said in a college press release.
Researchers evaluated the effects of less than six hours of sleep per night, which experts say is the minimum average adults need for optimal health.
The study involved nearly 2,000 relatively healthy, well-educated middle-aged American adults. They recorded their mental and physical health in a diary for eight consecutive days.
About four in ten (42%) had at least one night of sleep deprivation, getting 1.5 hours less sleep than their usual number.
The loss of sleep resulted in negative emotions such as anger, nervousness, loneliness, irritability, and frustration. Physical symptoms also surfaced, including upper respiratory issues, pain, and gastrointestinal issues.
These mental and physical problems remained elevated until participants slept more than six hours a night, according to the study.
The biggest increase in symptoms occurred after just one night of sleep deprivation and gradually worsened until day three, Lee said.
After that point, the body gets used relatively to the repeated sleep loss, Lee said. But by day six, the sleep-deprived participants reported that the severity of their physical symptoms was at its peak.
Previous research by Lee has found that losing just 16 minutes of sleep can adversely affect work performance. Lee’s work has also shown that minor sleep loss can decrease daily mindfulness, which is essential for managing stress and maintaining healthy routines.
About a third of American adults sleep less than six hours a night. If this becomes a habit, it becomes harder and harder for your body to fully recover from lack of sleep, according to Lee.
The results were reported on July 5 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the United States offers a guide to healthy sleep.
SOURCE: University of South Florida, press release, July 6, 2021
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