A Quartz report examines several studies that explore the link between emotional disturbances and sleep deprivation.
A 2015 study of some 2,000 Swedish adults, published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, examined the relationship between a person’s ability to regulate their emotions and the development of insomnia over time. At the beginning of the study, participants’ ability to regulate their emotions seemed to have no effect on their sleeping patterns. But six months and 18 months after the initial survey, the study found that people who were less able to manage their emotions were also more likely to experience persistent insomnia. This happened even for people who began the study without sleeping problems.
The study suggests that emotional turmoil may be at least partially responsible for insomnia. That said, “it’s way more complex than just a simple cause—it’s probably different for different people,” says Markus Jansson Fröjmark, the lead author of the study. He notes that the study only shows a slight relationship between dysfunctional emotional regulation and insomnia. And some studies have even suggested that sleep deprivation can make people feel happier, although this is probably a temporary effect.