(HealthDay News) — Interrupted sleep may be as harmful to cognition and mood as getting too little sleep, according to a study published in the July issue of Sleep Medicine.

Avi Sadeh, PhD., a professor at Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences, and colleagues had 61 student volunteers complete computer tasks and mood surveys the day after they had a full night’s sleep. The volunteers completed the surveys again the day after a night when their sleep was interrupted four times or was restricted to four hours.

On the day after interrupted sleep, the participants failed the computer task, had difficulty paying attention, and reported negative moods. The researchers reported that the participants functioned as poorly as people who got only four hours of sleep.

“Our study shows the impact of only one disrupted night,” said Sadeh in a university news release. “Sleep research has focused in the last 50 years on sleep deprivation, and practically ignored the impact of night-wakings, which is a pervasive phenomenon for people from many walks of life. I hope that our study will bring this to the attention of scientists and clinicians, who should recognize the price paid by individuals who have to endure frequent night-wakings.”

Health Highlights: July 11, 2014
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