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Insomnia sufferers are terrible at reading facial expressions

A new study has found that sleep deprivation affects our ability to read the facial expressions of others.

20 people were deprived of sleep for 30 hours and then asked to look at photographs of faces, each displaying a different emotional state (happy, sad, and angry). They were then allowed to sleep, and retested 24 hours later. The responses from both days were compared.

Those tested while sleep deprived found it more difficult to distinguish between angry and happy facial expressions compared to those in the control group who were tested 2 days in a row without sleep deprivation. After recovery sleep, the difference disappeared.

So here is even more evidence of just how difficult living with insomnia can be. Imagine finding it more difficult to communicate with others, for understanding how people are feeling and what they're thinking not to come naturally.

Yet another reason why insomnia needs to be taken more seriously.

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Last updated: April 30, 2010

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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