Interrupted Rest Prevents Deep, Slow Wave Sleep

First Posted: Oct 30, 2015 06:49 PM EDT

A new study published in the journal Sleep suggests that interrupted sleep is actually worse than sleeping straight through for a shorter amount of time.

"When sleep is disrupted several times during the night you may never get to slow wave sleep," explains the study's lead author, Patrick Finan, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a news release. And that, Finan says, may be what makes all the difference in a person's mood the next day.

Because of this, researchers noted that our mood may be quite horrible even if we went to bed at a decent time. Repeatedly waking up throughout the night can not only be bad for your cognitive function--as previous studies have shown--but it can definitely do some damage to your mood. You might feel more stressed, cranky or tired, all together, according to TODAY Health & Wellness.

During the study, researchers asked 62 men and women to come into the researchers' sleep laboratory. They tracked the participants sleep for three nights via polysomnography. Half the people woke up eight times throughout the three nights, while another group was forced to go to bed late for three days but with uninterrupted sleep, according to Live Science.

Though the first night showed that both groups were relatively the same--with lower levels of positive emotions--the second and third nights showed a distinct difference. Those who were forced awake through the night showed even lower levels of positive mood than those who were deprived of sleep.

Based on the findings, researchers believe that this has something to do with less time in deep, slow wave sleep for those who wake up more.

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