The Boston, Massachusetts institutions found that it was not just time spent sleeping that affected how a person felt the next day, but the overall quality of sleep as well. The study could lead to a potential crisis in the country, as trouble sleeping is also linked to many health issues later in life.
The paper was published in Frontiers in Sleep, a forum for innovation in basic, translational, epidemiologic and clinical sleep science, and its implications for physical and mental health.
The researchers, a team of seven sleep experts, gathered data from 1,055 Americans. They first developed survey criteria that would gauge a person's sleep quality, and they came up with nine key signs that could indicate the respondents' quality of sleep.
The participants were provided choices for how they felt after the previous night's sleep. Their answers could be grouchy, in a good mood, tired, sleepy, rested, refreshed, energetic, alert and ready to start the day. Each participant's results were scaled from zero to 100 to rate their overall quality of sleep.
Scores lower than 49.9 were considered "low" quality sleep; scores between 50 and 74.99 were considered as "somewhat" quality sleep; and scores 75 or higher were considered "high" quality sleep. Only 28 percent of participants reached that highest mark, which meant that they had "restorative sleep."
"Qualitative evaluation is an important feature of sleep health, yet the vast majority of high quality nationally representative data collected among U.S. adults have assessed quantitative aspects, such as sleep duration, which preclude a holistic understanding of sleep in the population," the authors wrote in their report.
The researchers are hopeful their study can help give the world a new understanding as to how sleep works and how to evaluate it.
Poor sleep is linked to a variety of health conditions – most are minor and can easily be addressed. But bad sleep habits can cause more serious medical issues, including hypertension, heart disease and brain damage. (Related: On sleep and binge-eating: Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) associated with obesity, explain health experts.)
Research from Harvard and Berkeley revealed a very dangerous side effect of pulling an all-nighter: short-term euphoria. After missing a night's sleep, the mesolimbic pathway, the neural circuit that controls pleasure and reward, is strongly stimulated.
The process is driven by a chemical called dopamine and higher levels of the said chemical can result in addiction and impulsive behavior. This is because regions of the brain responsible for planning and evaluating decisions would shut down once a person is deprived of sleep. One can be overly optimistic and happy to take risks.
Some studies found that if the mesolimbic pathway is frequently over-stimulated by sleep deprivation, there could be permanent brain damage because of the brain's neural plasticity. When it is forced to operate in a different state on a regular basis, it permanently alters itself.
According to the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, sleep deprivation's connection to decreased attention "has been well established." However, it should be noted that it also affects other functions, such as long-term memory and decision-making.
"At its most basic, effects of lack of sleep on the brain affect mood and the ability to make memories and learn," Dr. Susan Redline of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told ABC News.
Watch the below video that talks about 10 scary side effects of sleep deprivation.
This video is from the Natural Remedies channel on Brighteon.com.