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Study: Interrupted Sleep Is Worse for Your Mood Than Lack of Sleep

Going to sleep at a reasonable hour every night and waking up multiple times can mess with your mood even more than skimping on your sleep, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers from the university conducted a three-day experiment among 62 healthy adults. Some of the participants were forced awake eight times per night, while others were given delayed bedtimes. In the morning, the researchers assessed the participants to determine whether they showed positive or negative moods.

After the first night, participants from both groups exhibited similar low positive and high negative moods, but after the second night, the participants who had been forced awake had a 31% reduction in positive mood from the previous day compared to just a 12% decline among the participants with the delayed bedtime.

"When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don't have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration," explained study lead author Patrick Finan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The results of this study should come as no surprise to the sleep apnea community, as it's common for sleep apnea sufferers to exhibit symptoms of depression. While many people who have sleep apnea are able to fall asleep easily enough, they can wake up hundreds of times throughout the night during cessations in breath – often without even realizing it.

If you're experiencing symptoms of depression or changes in your mood, you may want to take a closer look at your sleep habits. Educate yourself on the symptoms of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders like insomnia and don't be afraid to broach this issue with your doctor.

Nearly 80% of people suffering from sleep apnea are undiagnosed, and therefore missing out on effective treatment methods that can have them feeling better – both physically and mentally.