Lacking Sleep Could Harm Your Social Interactions

Feel sleepy? Don’t feel like yourself? Having trouble making out other’s emotional states?  Did you know those things could be connected?!

A new study links lack of sleep with people having a harder time recognizing facial expressions.  What maybe the most interesting is we subconsciously err on the cautious side – anger to neutral expressions were the most difficult series of expressions for the study participants to properly recognize.

Sleep-deprived people have trouble reading facial expressions, a new study shows, particularly when those faces are shifting away from anger or threat.

“Facial expressions are probably the most salient cues that we have in our environment,” Walker says. “They profoundly influence how we behave, and they can rapidly alter your feelings and your actions toward other people.”

He says not sleeping enough could have profound social and professional consequences, particularly for people like doctors, police officers, or soldiers, who are frequently called on to quickly assess and respond to interpersonal situations.

“When you’re sleep deprived, you can’t separate threatening from non-threatening cues,” he says. “You keep thinking that they’re threatening. So you can’t accurately identify the emotion.” Via http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20110615/lack-of-sleep-impairs-emotional-iq

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