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Can Sleep Deprivation Increase Your Anger? Research Says It All!

According to a new US-based research, sleep deprivation of even a couple of hours can result in you getting angry even in the mildest of situations. It basically reduces your ability to adapt in different situations which you may come across in everyday life.

The research was conducted by the state university of Iowa, and a total of 142 of research participants were divided into two groups randomly for the purpose of this research. One group was asked to complete its sleep for two days while the second group was asked to restrict its sleep to two-four hours at night for two days.

The ratings with respect to feelings of anger were obtained before conducting the research through a series of lab tests and also after two days at the culmination of the study. The tests for measuring the level of anger in a person included one whereby subjects were asked to rate a product while they were exposed to very annoying background noise.

man wearing Nike camouflage t-shirt

According to a new US-based research, sleep deprivation of even a couple of hours can result in you getting angry even in the mildest of situations.

Findings of the Research

The findings of the research were later published in Psychology Journal, and showed that people who received an adequate amount of sleep each night for two days slept for an average of 7 hours per night, while the second group, who was supposed to experience sleep deprivation, received an average sleep of 4 and a half hours per night.

The collected data also showed that sleep deprivation of 2 to 3 hours had a significant impact on the level of anger experienced by a person, apart from the intensification of an overall negative emotional state in a person.
This was the first research work of its kind that showed a causal relationship between lack of sleep and the emotion of anger. Previous researches did highlight a connection but did not provide sufficient evidence to prove this hypothesis.

woman wearing white and black sweater sitting on stair

The collected data also showed that sleep deprivation of 2 to 3 hours had a significant impact on the level of anger experienced by a person

Apart from anger, sleep deprivation also showed to have an impact on other aspects of human psychology. According to research, lack of sleep can also result in the increase of negative emotions such as stress or anxiety. The level of sadness experienced by an individual may also increase simply because a person did not get enough sleep the previous night. A person may also experience decreased enthusiasm and motivation to work due to sleep deprivation.

The Background Noise

It can be argued that subjects responded in anger to the test because of the annoying background music and would’ve responded positively had the music not been there. However, the research data also showed that the level of anger was higher in people who were sleep deprived even when the level of background noise was lowered.

To ensure the background noise was not tampering the results, researchers manipulated the background noise. However they discovered that even after doing so there wasn’t much difference in the way people responded to the test. The background noise was meant to trigger the feelings of frustration in all the subjects, not only in ones who were sleep deprived.

The people with sleep deprivation showed a heightened level of anger whenever a more unpleasant noise was introduced to their ears. These people reported anger even when the volume of the noise was lowered, confirming that the anger was coming from sleep deprivation and not because of the noise.

selective focus of woman holding her head at daytime

The research data also showed that the level of anger was higher in people who were sleep deprived even when the level of background noise was lowered.

Essentially, this background noise was introduced to test the level of adaptability of people to their environment when they are sleep deprived. Generally, people develop the tendency to adapt to their environment even when it is not very pleasant.

For example, people do adapt to uncomfortable clothing or even the noise of cars or barking dogs.
The people who restricted sleep in this study did not show any flexible behavior towards an irritating environment. They experienced distress and anger in that situation, just like any sleep deprived person would do.

Another Study

A separate study was conducted on college students who were experiencing sleep deprivation. When results of this research study were applied to their real lives, it showed that everyday sleep deprivation had a huge impact on their anger management skills.

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