Researchers out of the University of British Columbia studied the sleep routine of 1,982 American adults over the course of a week. In that time, they identified two major trends: After a shorter night’s sleep, people tended to feel extra peeved by stressful situations and less able find joy in the good stuff the next day.
“When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day,” lead study author Nancy Sin, PhD explained of the findings in a press release. “But we found that when a person sleeps less than their usual amount, they don’t have as much of a boost in positive emotions from their positive events.”
By conducting daily telephone interviews with participants and asking them about their sleep duration, daily stressors, positive events, and affect, Sin’s team found that even “minor night-to-night fluctuations in sleep duration can have consequences in how people respond to events in their daily lives.”
The resulting sour mood is nothing to brush off: We now know that chronic stress and negative emotions make us more susceptible to chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and leaky gut, as well as shorter-term infections like the common cold.