A new research found that getting less (uninterrupted) sleep may be better and easier to deal with than being constantly interrupted while sleeping and having to wake up.
Patrick Finan, a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore said that:
“When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don’t have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep.”
Slow-wave sleep is important to the feeling of restoration, Finan added.
People who usually experience the dreadful feeling of having to wake up multiple times throughout the night are parents, as well as those who – for example – work as hospital doctors. Fitful sleep also occurs in people who have insomnia and who also deal with depression, but researchers have yet to find exactly why that is.
In the new study – published October 30 in the journal Sleep – the researchers wanted to see whether there was a link between insomnia and depression. Sixty-two women and men – who participated in the new study – were asked by Finan and his colleagues to spend three nights in the ‘sleep laboratory’.
Using the polysomnography (PSG) technique – a test used to diagnose sleep disorders – the sleep of the participants was tracked for three consecutive nights.
The sixty-two participants were separated into two groups. In the first group, half of the people were interrupted eight times during their sleep (and woken up), while the other group slept uninterrupted, but they had to go to bed late at night.
Both the people in the sleep-deprived (2nd) group and those in the frequently woken (1st) group felt bad after the first night. They lacked positive emotions, and had high levels of negative moods – specifically the next morning.
The following two nights, those in the frequently woken group showed even lower levels of positive emotions, and an increase in negative moods, than the participants in the second group.
Researchers found – based on the participants’ brain waves – that people in the first group experienced less slow-wave sleep, or deep sleep. Te findings show that slow-wave sleep is linked to a decrease in positive mood. The participants who were awoken through the night also had lower energy levels, were less sympathetic and less friendly.
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