More sleep can help you better deal with negativity and stress: study

VANCOUVER — Getting a good night’s sleep can leave you better equipped to deal with negative and positive things in everyday life, new research from UBC has found.

The study found that after a shorter night’s sleep, people found less joy in happy moments and reacted more emotionally to stressful events the following day.

“When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day,” Nancy Sin, assistant professor in UBC’s department of psychology, said in a statement Tuesday.

“But we found that when a person sleeps less than their usual amount, they don’t have as much of a boost of positive emotions from their positive events.”

The typical guideline for a good night’s sleep is at least seven hours a night, Sin says, but one in three adults don’t get that much.

“A large body of research has shown that inadequate sleep increases the risk for mental disorders, chronic health conditions, and premature death,” Sin said.

“My study adds to this evidence by showing that even minor night-to-night fluctuations in sleep duration can have consequences in how people respond to events in their daily lives.”

The study looked at diary data from a sample of nearly 2,000 U.S. participants. It examined how long participants slept and how they reacted to negative and positive situations the next day over the course of eight days.

The stressful events people reported experiencing included arguments, social tensions, work and family stress, and discrimination.

“When people slept less than usual, they responded to these stressful events with a greater loss of positive emotions,” the statement from UBC said.

“This has important health implications: previous research by Sin and others shows that being unable to maintain positive emotions in the face of stress puts people at risk of inflammation and even an earlier death.

Making sleep a priority can help people have a better long-term health and quality of life, Sin said.

She added that adults with chronic health conditions who had more sleep than usual had better responses to positive things the next day.

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