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Home Industry News Sleep deprivation ‘can make it harder to think positively’

Sleep deprivation ‘can make it harder to think positively’

18th July 2017

Not getting enough sleep can make it harder for a person to think positively, according to new research.

The University of Pennsylvania study involved 40 healthy adults, who were asked to either spend 28 consecutive hours awake, or to get a full eight hours of sleep, before taking part in a computer test measuring their ability to identify happy, sad and neutral faces.

Although those who were acutely sleep deprived were not shown to be any more likely to focus on the negative expressions, they were less likely to focus on the happier faces, suggesting that sleep deprivation may increase a person's risk of developing depression.

Dr Ivan Vargas, a postdoctoral fellow at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said: "In general, we have a tendency to notice positive stimuli in our environment. We tend to focus on positive things more than anything else, but now we're seeing that sleep deprivation may reverse that bias."

It was also shown that those with a history of insomnia symptoms were less sensitive to the effects of sleep loss, potentially suggesting that these individuals have more experience being in sleep-deprived conditions and have developed coping methods as a result.

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