Researchers at the University of Arizona have found a link between sleep deprivation and the ability to correctly judge facial expressions, reports UPI. 

Researchers found that blatant facial expressions such as an obvious grin or frown were easily identifiable regardless of sleep deprivation or not. Sleep deprived participants had a more difficult time recognizing subtle expressions of happiness or sadness compared to other emotions. After they were allowed to recover sleep, their performance in recognizing happiness and sadness improved to baseline.

“As a society, we don’t get the full seven to eight hours of sleep that people probably need to be getting,” Killgore said. “The average American is getting a little less than six hours of sleep on average, and it could affect how you’re reading people in everyday interactions. You may be responding inappropriately to somebody that you just don’t read correctly, especially those social emotions that make us human. Or you may not be as empathic. Your spouse or significant other may need something from you and you’re less able to read that. It’s possible that this could lead to problems in your relationships or problems at work.”

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