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A Bad Night’s Sleep vs. A Shorter Night’s Sleep

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Parents with a bundle of joy know all too well how it feels to wake up and go back to sleep multiple times a night. On the other hand, we’ve all found ourselves up way longer than intended only to realize we have time for 4 hours of sleep. So which situation has the most negative impact?

A new study from researchers at Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences may give some insight into that mystery. Recently published in the journal Sleep Medicine, the study shows that disrupted sleep is just as bad as only getting 4 hours of sleep, negatively affecting our attention span, mood and cognitive abilities.

Sixty one healthy women between the ages of 20 and 29 participated in the study, which included undergoing 2 nights of sleep. On the first night, the participants enjoyed a normal night of sleep, but on the second night they were broken into groups. One group experienced disrupted sleep due to induced awakenings by researchers four times during the night for 15 minutes to perform a computer task before being allowed to get back to sleep, the other group experienced restricted sleep of only 4 hours.

Data was recorded using a actigraphy and sleep diaries. Also, the next morning after both nights of sleep, the participants answered questionnaires regarding their alertness, attention and mood as well as underwent some testing.

Regardless of their assigned groups, all of the participants experienced confusion, fatigue, depression and attention problems after the second night of poor sleep.

Although the study only examined one night, a full night of 7-9 hours of sleep each night without interruptions is the only way to absorb all of the benefits of shut-eye to wake up ready to start your day. Change your sleep hygiene to improve your snooze by making sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet, you deserve Grade A sleep every night!

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