Earlier this week, we looked into how sleep deprivation affects your mood. Between the pessimism and the lack of gratitude, it's safe to say that nothing good happens when you miss your Zs. But when compared to a long-but-disrupted sleep, could a few hours too few be the lesser of two evils? Related: 3 Ways To Use Tech At Night — & Still Sleep Soundly A new study from Johns Hopkins University suggests that, while achieving both is ideal, you should probably worry more about sleeping deeply rather than enough. Over the course of three days, a selection of the study's participants were asked to stay up later than usual, to the point that they slept less than five hours each night. Meanwhile, in what sounds like true misery for the sake of science, researchers woke up other, far less fortunate participants eight times a night. Related: 3 Breathing Techniques For Dealing With Anxiety, Stress & Low Energy
Researchers found that, while everyone was certainly worse for the wear by the end of the study, those whose sleep was disrupted actually experienced more miserable aftereffects, particularly in terms of mood. Shape reports that study author Patrick Finan, PhD, believes a loss of deep or "slow wave" sleep is to blame. If you wake up too often in the middle of your sleep, it's difficult to complete your sleep cycle; this negatively affects your energy, mood, and ability to function efficiently the next day. You can take steps to ensure a good night's sleep by practicing good "sleep hygiene" — avoiding screens, cutting caffeine late in the day...you know, all those things you keep saying you're going to do.