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Summary: Three consecutive nights of sleep loss can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in anger, frustration, and anxiety. Additionally, those who experienced sleep loss reported a change in physical wellbeing, including gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.
All it takes is three consecutive nights of sleep loss to cause your mental and physical well-being to greatly deteriorate.
A new study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine looked at the consequences of sleeping fewer than six hours for eight consecutive nights – the minimum duration of sleep that experts say is necessary to support optimal health in average adults.
Lead author Soomi Lee, assistant professor in the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida, found the biggest jump in symptoms appeared after just one night of sleep loss. The number of mental and physical problems steadily got worse, peaking on day three. At that point, research shows the human body got relatively used to repeated sleep loss. But that all changed on day six, when participants reported that the severity of physical symptoms was at its worst.
“Many of us think that we can pay our sleep debt on weekends and be more productive on weekdays,” Lee said. “However, results from this study show that having just one night of sleep loss can significantly impair your daily functioning.”