(CNN)One night of sleep loss is enough to disrupt your day-to-day mental and physical well-being, according to a new study, and consecutive days of sleep loss can increase these negative impacts.
Just one night of sleep loss harms your well-being, new study finds
"Consecutive sleep loss was associated with decreases in positive emotions, increases in negative emotions, and greater frequency of severity of physical symptoms," said Soomi Lee, lead author of the study, which published Monday in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Lee, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida's School of Aging Studies and director of the Sleep, Stress and Health (STEALTH) Lab, studies sleep and the diverse factors that influence it across populations.
Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep per night, but 1 in 3 of them don't, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The negative effects of poor sleep have been well documented, with its occurrence linked to higher risk of a variety of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and, in another recent study, dementia.
Daily effects of consecutive sleep loss, however, have not been as widely researched. The new study focused specifically on day-to-day adverse effects of sleep loss, which was defined as getting fewer than six hours of sleep nightly, and whether there are cumulative effects of repeated sleep loss on daily well-being.
"Sleep has been one of the under-recognized health outcomes despite that sleep is very closely related to so many different health outcomes," Lee said.
The study examined daily diary data for eight consecutive days from 1,958 adults who took the Midlife in the United States Survey (MIDUS) conducted between 2004 and 2006.
The analysis found that sleep loss for even one night resulted in increased negative well-being and decreased positive well-being, both physically and mentally. Additionally, with multiple consecutive nights of sleep loss, especially after three nights, these effects were amplified.
"When sleep loss occurs almost every day, which means (it's) chronic, that's when our body and mind cannot tolerate anymore," Lee said. "The research shows that consecutive sleep loss results in incomplete recovery and stress pile-up and so degrade our daily well-being."
As the number of consecutive days of sleep loss increased, the severity of adverse physical impacts -- including body aches, gastrointestinal issues and respiratory symptoms, such as a sore throat and runny nose -- also increased, according to the study.