A night or two of poor sleep makes people more prone to anger than usual, a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology has confirmed. Researchers at Iowa State University recruited 142 people (average age 23), half of whom restricted their normal sleep routine by two to four hours for two nights (averaging 4½ hours per night), while half maintained their usual amount of sleep.
To measure changes in anger, participants were tested before and after the sleep manipulation by having to rate products while listening to varying levels of annoying background noise. In general, the more annoying the noise, the more anger the participants expressed, but the sleep-restricted group became angrier and more frustrated at all levels of noise than the normal-sleep group.
“Although there are many reasons why sleep disruption may be connected to anger and aggression, the present findings clearly point to sleep loss as an important causal factor in anger,” the researchers concluded.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Is Anger Hurting Your Health?