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    Sleep loss does not impact ability to assess emotional information



    Summary: It is no secret that sleep loss or insomnia can affect a person’s mood. But new research shows that it does not impair their ability to assess emotional states.

    Source: PLOS ONE.

    The study results are impacting health care providers, law enforcement and people in other long-term jobs. Those who need to be able to control their emotions during stressful and emotionally stressful situations. Loss of sleep is unlikely to cause emotional numbness, researchers have found. But it may also prevent them from controlling their emotional responses.

    Sleep loss

    The researchers recruited 60 adult participants for the study. They spent four consecutive days at the Sleep and Work Research Center at WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. All participants were allowed to sleep normally on the first night and were provided with a set of basic tests to determine their mood and emotional control and processing skills. Then, the researchers divided the participants into two groups: one group of 40 people spent the second night awake, while the control group of 20 participants were allowed normal sleep time.

    Emotional control and processing tests both involve looking at a series of images with positive and negative meanings of emotions. The sleep-deprived group had a great deal of difficulty in controlling their emotions when instructed to do so.

    The processing tests involved responding to words and pictures with emotional content, for example measuring the emotions conveyed by a smiling family, a barking dog or a crying baby. All participants did the same in these tests whether they slept or not.

    The difference between processing the emotional content of the world around you and being able to control your emotional responses is important, especially in some professions.

    Research reveals that over-the-top control is a problem with “hot” or emotional perception processes.

    Published: PLOS ONE.

    Contact: Anthony R. Stenson.

    Details: Image source IStock 

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