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Sleep Deprivation and Specific Emotions Report

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2020


The majority of the people in the society is not acquainted with the relevant information about their sleeping patterns. Sleep is one of the most important things for human beings because it has been associated with the effective development of cognitive and emotional health. Sleep deprivation has been studied by many scientists in the past to establish its effect on mental alertness and emotional configuration. Sleep deprivation is defined as a lack of sleep or sleeping for fewer hours than recommended. Sleep deprivation is a common phenomenon among people in stressing careers, children with various disorders, and people with different illnesses.

Not getting enough sleep affects all people regardless of their age; hence, its effects should be understood by psychologists across the world. There have been numerous studies conducted by various researchers in the past to develop an understanding of the negative effects of sleep deprivation on people. The studies are yet to provide conclusive evidence of the relationship between sleep deprivation and emotional behavior. This report highlights a study that was conducted to create a correlation between sleep deprivation and specific emotions. The findings of the study will be instrumental in helping psychologists around the world to diagnose different emotional behaviors in people based on their sleeping patterns.


According to Laurent (1999), there is a high correlation between self-report measurements of depression and anxiety in patients. This high correlation makes it difficult for psychologists to distinguish between the two disorders in most patients. The PANAS instrument was developed to help in attaining accuracy in the measurement of depression and anxiety (Laurent et al., 1999). The study highlighted by Laurent (1999) was conducted to develop an effective measure of anxiety and depression in children using the PANAS instrument. The results indicated that the PANAS-C tool had a valid discriminatory factor in differentiating anxiety and depression. According to Watson and Clark (1988), the Positive Affect (PA) indicates the feelings of enthusiasm, being active, and alertness.

The Negative Affect (NA) is a dimension that highlights distress, anger, fear, and nervousness, among many other unpleasant emotions. It is possible to distinguish between PA and NA through the PANAS instrument and determine the nature of the psychological disorder in a patient. The PANAS instrument can be used to evaluate the effects of sleep deprivation in different people because it highlights some of the emotional behaviors associated with anxiety and depression. It is also possible for psychologists to determine whether sleep deprivation causes anxiety or depression (Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988). It is important to identify the emotional behaviors associated with the lack of enough sleep to isolate the emotions for diagnostic purposes of children with sleeping disorders.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of the relationship between sleep deprivation and emotional behaviors. The study looks to illuminate the issues associated with not getting enough sleep. The specific emotional behaviors associated with sleep deprivation are yet to be clearly highlighted; hence, this study looks to attain the same. The paper intends to reveal the importance of sleep for people based on the negative psychological effects that the findings will link to the lack of enough sleep. The study looks to create a link between the findings of past researches on the emotional effects of sleep deprivation. The study also strives to criticize some of the limitations of the previous studies in this field and to provide recommendations for the focus of future studies. The paper is also designed to provide psychologists across the world with knowledge about the cascade of emotions that are associated with a lack of enough sleep in their patients. This information will be instrumental in the development of an understanding of the order in which the different behaviors associated with sleep deprivation are manifested.


The research aims to highlight the specific types of emotions associated with sleep deprivation. The research also looks to identify the relationship between these emotional behaviors with reference to their clustering characteristics. The study also aims at revealing the appropriate measure that might effectively help in diagnosing sleep deprivation. The study also aims at evaluating the discrete emotions through the existing measuring tools (PANAS-C) and comparing the findings with results from similar studies.


After developing a 12-item PA and NA scales, the results highlighted a hierarchical structure with a saturated measure of the PA factor. The results revealed a significant correlation function in the positive emotions scale (interested.746 and excited.718). The 12-item scale revealed psychometric traits associated with PANAS. The Cronbach’s alpha for the PA results was 0.898. According to the results, all members of the sample space fell either under the factor 1 variable or the factor 2 variable, which indicates the validity of the instruments used. The scale means if deleted items in the table revealed that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the emotions of the participants. The scale means if an item is deleted was highest for pain, disappointment, shaky, anger, and hostility. These results indicate that the lack of enough sleep is associated with more cases of behaviors that manifest anxiety and anger (Sagaspe et al., 2006).

Calmness, confidence, contentment, and delight were some of the lowest scoring emotions on the scale. This indicates that the PA is least manifested when the sleep deprivation variable is present in the experiment. Subjects that are exposed to the lack of sleep are likely to manifest NA. The PANAS-C scale reveals a variety of negative emotional behaviors that are a result of the psychological stress associated with the lack of enough sleep (Gaudreau, Sanchez & Blondin, 2006).

According to Tangney, Stuewig, and Mashek (2007), the type of emotional behavior portrayed by an individual depends on their ability to connect with their moral self-consciousness. The findings from this study indicate that individuals that are subject to the lack of enough sleep are likely to voluntarily portray negative emotions like anger. This study has revealed that individuals portray an array of different emotions when they are sleep-deprived; hence, it would be valid to conclude that the stress associated with sleep deprivation erodes moral self-consciousness (Tangney, Stuewig & Mashek, 2007).

According to the findings of a study conducted by Talbot et al. (2010), sleep-deprived people portray more NA than their rested counterparts. This study replicates similar findings. In this study, the sleep-deprived participants portrayed minimal PA. The relationship between anxiety and the negative emotional behaviors was found to be more correlated when the participants were sleep-deprived. Rested participants had the ability to control their negative emotions (Talbot et al., 2010).

While the evidence revealing the role of sleep deprivation in the control of emotions in individuals is quite scarce, this study has clearly revealed that the lack of enough sleep may result in the manifestation of negative emotions. These findings are similar to the study conducted by Yoo et al. (2007), which revealed that there is a relationship between sleep and emotions in individuals. Cognitive mechanisms have been overly attributed to the changes in emotions that most people experience on a daily basis, but psychologists have developed the curiosity to include other factors like sleep deprivation in their list of possible causes of negative emotional behavior in people.

Killgore et al. (2008) conducted a study that revealed that lack of sleep results in reduced emotional intelligence in individuals. Just like this study has revealed, individuals with the stress associated with sleep deprivation are less likely to show empathy for other people in their social circles. The affected individuals also portray limited signs of gratification (Walker, 2009).


Sleep deprivation has been linked to the development of many negative emotions. Most researchers in the past developed studies to look into the factors that cause emotional distress in individuals, but they failed to consider the role of sleep deprivation in the same. This study replicates findings from several other studies that were conducted to reveal the specific emotions that are associated with the lack of enough sleep. According to the findings of the qualitative study, the lack of sufficient sleep results in the development of NA in the PANAS-C instrument. These findings indicate that the cluster of emotions associated with sleep deprivation does not differ.

Individuals are likely to portray similar negative emotions when they are placed in the same environment of sleep deprivation. This research and the preceding studies will be helpful to psychologists across the world in their approaches to treating anxiety in patients. The provision of ample sleeping hours for anxiety patients might be a viable treatment method. Future studies should look into the potential of using sleep as a treatment method for negative emotional behavior.


Gaudreau, P., Sanchez, X., & Blondin, J. P. (2006). Positive and negative affective states in a performance-related setting: Testing the factorial structure of the panas across two samples of french-canadian participants. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 22(4), 240. Web.

Killgore, W. D., Kahn-Greene, E. T., Lipizzi, E. L., Newman, R. A., Kamimori, G. H., & Balkin, T. J. (2008). Sleep deprivation reduces perceived emotional intelligence and constructive thinking skills. Sleep medicine, 9(5), 517-526. Web.

Laurent, J., Catanzaro, S. J., Joiner Jr, T. E., Rudolph, K. D., Potter, K. I., Lambert, S., & Gathright, T. (1999). A measure of positive and negative affect for children: scale development and preliminary validation. Psychological assessment, 11(3), 326. Web.

Sagaspe, P., Sanchez-Ortuno, M., Charles, A., Taillard, J., Valtat, C., Bioulac, B., & Philip, P. (2006). Effects of sleep deprivation on Color-Word, Emotional, and Specific Stroop interference and on self-reported anxiety. Brain and cognition, 60(1), 76-87. Web.

Talbot, L. S., McGlinchey, E. L., Kaplan, K. A., Dahl, R. E., & Harvey, A. G. (2010). Sleep deprivation in adolescents and adults: changes in affect. Emotion, 10(6), 831. Web.

Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Mashek, D. J. (2007). Moral emotions and moral behavior. Annual review of psychology, 58, 345. Web.

Walker, M. P. (2009). The role of sleep in cognition and emotion. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1156(1), 168-197. Web.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of personality and social psychology, 54(6), 1063-1070. Web.

Yoo, S. S., Gujar, N., Hu, P., Jolesz, F. A., & Walker, M. P. (2007). The human emotional brain without sleep—a prefrontal amygdala disconnect.Current Biology, 17(20), R877-R878. Web.

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