Anger and Frustration May Be Amplified By Sleep Restriction: Study

The study assessed daily diary entries of 202 college students, tracking their daily stressors, anger, and sleep for over one month.

A study published in the journal SLEEP has suggested that sleep deprivation may be the reason behind the amplification of frustration and anger. For the study, the researchers examined daily diary entries of 202 college students, who tracked their daily stressors, anger, and most importantly, sleep for over one month.

Zlatan Krizan, study author, said: "The results are important because they provide strong causal evidence that sleep restriction increases anger and increases frustration over time."

"Moreover, the results from the daily diary study suggest such effects translate to everyday life, as young adults reported more anger in the afternoon on days they slept less," Krizan added.

Assessing Anger and Irritation

Preliminary results show that individuals reported experiencing more anger on days following less sleep than usual for them. The research team also conducted a lab experiment involving 147 community residents. Participants were randomly assigned either to maintain their regular sleep schedule or to restrict their sleep at home by about five hours across two nights.

Representational Picture Wikimedia Commons

Following this manipulation, anger was assessed during exposure to irritating noise, the researchers said. The experiment found that individuals who slept well adapted to noise and reported less anger after two days.

Providing Compelling Evidence

In contrast, sleep-restricted individuals exhibited higher and increased anger in response to aversive noise, suggesting that losing sleep undermined emotional adaptation to frustrating circumstances.

According to the study, subjective sleepiness accounted for most of the experimental effect of sleep loss on anger. A related experiment in which individuals reported anger following an online competitive game found similar results.

"Together, these results provide compelling evidence that lost sleep amplifies anger in both the laboratory and everyday life," the study authors wrote. The authors noted that the findings highlight the importance of considering specific emotional reactions such as anger and their regulation in the context of sleep disruption.

(With inputs from agencies)