A study focusing on the vocal emotional expression of adolescents and adults found that sleep deprivation can lead to an emotionally unstable youth and later, adulthood.
The researchers asked a group of sleep deprived adolescents a series of questions, paying particular attention not only to what they said, but how they said it. By looking at the tone, intensity, and energy of the speaker’s voice, the researchers found that sleep deprived participants became more negative over time.
Three different tests were used to measure the amount of emotion in each participants voice: a computer test that distinguishes words between categories such as positive and negative, a human rating test to determine the emotion of the speaker, and an acoustical analysis of the voices by computer. The participants were asked questions at two times during the day after a sleep deprived night.
In all three tests the participants became more negatively associated as they became more sleep deprived. While they did not necessarily use more negative terminology, they used less positive emotion and began to exhibit more negative emotion through tone and energy.
The study is in support of previous research suggesting a necessary role for sleep in healthy emotional functioning in adults but also in adolescents. This is very important in a society such as the one we live in today, with access to entertainment every hour of the day; we need to sleep.