You may be tempted to work late to power through that project or pull an all-nighter for some other reason, but research is showing that even one sleepless night can negatively impact your well-being the next day.
We know that we can’t ever truly “catch up on sleep” or make up that sleep debt, but even such short-term disruptions to our sleep can wreak havoc on our mental and physical well-being, according to the latest research out of the University of South Florida’s School of Aging Studies.
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Further still, multiple sleepless nights compound the problem, increasing negative impact; specifically, reducing positive emotions and increasing negative emotions and severity of physical symptoms, say lead authors in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Lack of sleep is well-documented to impact our health, increasing risk to various conditions from cardiovascular disease, to diabetes, obesity and even dementia.
The study looked at daily diary data for eight straight days from nearly 2,000 American adults.
Researchers found that even after just one night of sleep loss (having less than seven hours of sleep), there is increased negative well-being and decreased positive well-being, both physically and mentally. With more than one such night, these impacts amplify. Consecutive sleep loss makes it impossible for us to completely fully recover, leading to a build-up of these negative side-effects, degrading our daily well-being.
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After multiple days, the study specifically found that there was an increase in the severity of physical impacts, including body aches, upset stomach and respiratory problems such as a sore throat and a runny nose. The worst of these effects in the eight-day period was after six consecutive days of sleep loss.
This is all the more reason to re-prioritize a good night’s rest and recognize it as a critical pillar in our overall health and well-being.
Related: This is how I fought insomnia and won.