Interrupted Sleep? That's Worse Than No Sleep, Study Says

My husband drives me crazy with sleep issues.

Our son (who does get sick a lot) gets sick because he doesn't sleep enough.  Sleep can heal your body of everything.  Oh, and before I forget, don't you dare wake him up unless the house is burning down (we won't mention the time the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night at the hotel we were staying in and he decided to go to the bathroom first).

But that's another story.

Now a new study has found that sleep interruptions are worse for our moods than overall sleep reduction, according to newswise.com.

In other words, awakening several times throughout the night is more detrimental to people’s positive moods than getting the same shortened amount of sleep without interruption.

Who hasn't been there?  You didn't get enough sleep and you're grumpy.  There's that.  But there's also the annoyance of being awakened or jerked from a sound sleep.  I no longer use an alarm clock for just that reason.  I hated it in college when the Electric Light Orchestra yanked me from sleep (OK, so I'm dating myself).

"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 that is key to the feeling of restoration,” says study lead author Patrick Finan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Although the study was conducted on healthy subjects with generally normal sleep experiences, Finan says the results are likely to apply to those who suffer from insomnia, another nightmare.

And who doesn't remember the torture of a new baby and being awakened two, maybe three, times a night? Of course, if you got up every time he cried, he wouldn't sleep through the night until he was three.  That's years, not months.

Frequent awakenings throughout the night are common among new parents and on-call health care workers, Finan says. It is also one of the most common symptoms among people with insomnia, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. adult population. “Many individuals with insomnia achieve sleep in fits and starts throughout the night, and they don’t have the experience of restorative sleep,” Finan says.

Lack of sufficient slow-wave sleep had a statistically significant association with study subjects’ reduction in positive mood, the researchers say. They also found that interrupted sleep reduced not only energy levels, but also feelings of sympathy and friendliness.Finan says the study also suggests that the effects of interrupted sleep on positive mood can be cumulative, since the group differences emerged after the second night and continued the day after the third night of the study.

“You can imagine the hard time people with chronic sleep disorders have after repeatedly not reaching deep sleep,” Finan says.









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