Sleep Loss Alters Emotional Perception: Study

A recent study has linked sleep loss to change in emotional perception. The study suggests that sleep deprivation can alter the way we perceive emotional stimuli and can cause people to avoid any kind of social contact and consequently be avoided by others.

According to an article by Medical News Today, sleep deprivation can be as bad as being inebriated, and can aggravate any negative emotions that we might feel.

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In the study by Sandra Tamm from the Department of Clinical Neuroscience of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, five studies were conducted to analyze the link between sleep loss and emotional perception.

She examined the impact of sleep deprivation on a person’s ability to respond to and mimic someone else’s emotions, ability to empathize, ability to regulate emotions, impact on brain network connectivity and impact of seasonal allergies on brain inflammation.

The study consisted of putting a sample of 117 patients through a series of PET and MRI scans to analyze the impact of sleep deprivation and sleep loss on brain activity.

However, according to the researcher, sleep loss did not significantly impact pain empathy in the patient and patients affected by pollen allergies experienced poor sleep throughout the year, in fact, they were more likely to experience sleep loss outside of pollen season than during.

The researchers also were unable to establish a concrete relationship between sleep deprivation and changes in emotional behaviour and perception. However, this study has helped in determining how sleep loss may lead to increase in risk of psychiatric condition such as depression and poor mental health as a whole.

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