How lack of sleep causes aggression
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How lack of sleep causes aggression
To be healthy and fresh an adult person must sleep for seven to eight hours daily. If a person is not sleeping for the required hours, its consequences can be severe. Sleep deprivation adversely affects your mental and physical health. Individuals can have sleep issues occasionally but research shows that total lack of sleep results in damage to emotional control, low ability of judgment, less mental flexibility, and in extreme cases psychotic indications. Many pieces of research show that sleep problems may contribute to aggression, especially in the areas concerning partner violence, cyberbullying, school, and organizational aggression. Nowadays, many people in the world are suffering from sleep deprivation which creates a wide variety of mental health complications, like anxiety, depression and aggression and suicidal thoughts.
Aggression due to lack of sleep is a common problem in our society. Aggression is a complex behavior that arises due to personal and situational constraints. Aggression includes different magnitudes, like the degree of angry emotions, the amount of consideration given to the behavior, and the final goal of the act. Generally, we this that aggression is totally a physical act like pushing or hitting someone but in reality, there are many forms of aggression which include: verbal, physical, emotional and mental (Krizan & Hisler, 2016). Various researches indicate that a person who is unable to complete 7 to 9 hours of sleep shows less efficiency than the individuals who complete their sleeping period. It also results in physical health issues, back pain, eyes swelling, and body pain. On the other hand, psychological effects include fatigue, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Age is one of the main factors that disturb the sleeping routine. Older adults due to various health issue become unable to take peaceful sleep which changes their behavior. It is observed that older adults show more aggressive, stubborn, and rigidity while communicating with others in which sleeping disturbance plays a critical role (Krizan, 2016).
There are many reasons for being aggressive in order to express anger, declare supremacy, bully or threaten, impose control, a response of fear, a response to pain, achieve a goal, or contest with others. There are two types of aggression defined by psychologists’ i.e. impulsive aggression and instrumental aggression. Impulsive aggression, also identified as effective aggression arises due to robust emotions typically anger. Impulsive aggression is a sudden and unintentional act of violence against a stimulus by instantly doing the action or without considering its consequences. By research, it is suggested that impulsive aggression activates the acute threat response system particularly when it is caused by anger. Impulsive aggressive behavior develops injury and damage linked with personality disorders that include suicide attempts, self-damage, physically harming others, domestic violence, assets destruction and substance abuse (Kamphius, 2012). Instrumental aggression is also known as predatory aggression, instrumental aggression is considered as behaviors that are projected to attain a higher goal. It is usually carefully planned and executed properly. For example, hurting other people in a robbery or bullying in the playground during school break time by forcing other children to give their money.
Total sleep deprivation is a sleep disturbance in which the persons are unable to sleep for more than 24 hours. However, total sleep deprivation is not a common cause in people. Mostly observed forms of sleep interruption are partial sleep deprivation or chronic sleep restriction. In these cases, they sleep for less time in 24 hours and sleep is disturbed in relation to amount or quality. The person sleeps for fewer hours and many times awakening during sleep hours. Sleeping disorders result in undesirable consequences such as behaving aggressively and feeling angry. Many studies show that there is a correlation between sleep deprivation and aggressiveness (Kahn-Greene, 2006). This issue not only increases the psychological health issues but also physical. An individual who is unable to complete his sleep, feel lazy and tired at day time. Tiredness affects the ability of the person to the main daily schedule.
Sleep deprivation in children is associated with a variety of behavioral, mental and mood damages which may be a result of poor sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, or a primary sleep disorder. In children fragmentation or disruption of sleep often manifested by distraction, poor concentration, poor instinct control, troublemaking behavior problems, emotional distraction, depressive symptoms, excessive daytime sleepiness than hyperactivity and poor academic performance. Normal sleep can be defined culturally as of what patches with social, cultural and parental expectations, regardless of the natural phenomenon of sleep. Many young children and adolescents are unable to sleep as per natural requirements for a variety of reasons, including family plans, confused living arrangements, use of mobiles/tablets/TV in bedrooms, and after school social activities. In the day time, there are not enough hours to do all tasks and in the end, sleep time is compromised. Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) describes a range of sleep-related breathing difficulties common in young school-aged children creating snoring, obstructive sleep and many other breathing disorders.
The author Den along with other researchers’ fellow also discussed the correlation of sleep deprivation and its association with aggression. According to the author, sleep deprivation affects the cognitive functions of a person due to which children may experience mood swings and aggression. The author also conducted a study in which he chose 21 men and 5 women. The results revealed that loss of sleep was associated with extra-punitive responses that directed to the tendency of direct blame and hostility towards other people. However, when some participants were able to sleep for proper eight hours their reaction was different. They also apologized for their rude behavior. This study reflects that it is necessary for a person to sleep to complete daily tasks.
Researchers also indicate that psychiatrist observes that patients who face issues of depression and anxiety also have a lack of sleeping issue. It is observed that people with anxiety and depression wake up late and think too much. Too much thinking to speed up their brain which resulted in a lack of sleep. It results in aggression and rigid behavior. In extreme cases, these patients become so violent that they not only give harm to the other but also to themselves. This is the stage where they acquire suicidal ideation. Aggression and frustration increase in these patients which makes them able to hurt themselves. They feel relaxed and happy by hurting themselves. This is why it is important for the psychiatrists to note down the sleeping routine of their patients so that they get less time to overthink and overreact. Complete and peaceful sleep relaxes the mind of the patient and increases the positivity in them. They become able to handle their aggression and other reasons for depression (Den Wittenboer, 2000).
The bottom line is that lack of sleep is highly linked to the aggression and other psychological disorders. People who are unable to complete that quality sleep feel lazy, fatigue, aggressive, and depress. Psychological disorders like depression and anxiety disturbs the sleeping routine of the person. Thus there is a need to do more research on correlation between sleep and its association with aggression along with other psychological disorders. Gender, age, and other physical factors should also be considered while handling the sleeping routine of the individuals.
Den Wittenboer, V. (2000). Time in bed, quality of sleep and school functioning of children. Journal of sleep research, 9(2), 145-153.
Kahn-Greene, E. T., Lipizzi, E. L., Conrad, A. K., Kamimori, G. H., & Killgore, W. D. (2006). Sleep deprivation adversely affects interpersonal responses to frustration. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(8), 1433-1443.
Kamphuis, J., Meerlo, P., Koolhaas, J. M., & Lancel, M. (2012). Poor sleep as a potential causal factor in aggression and violence. Sleep medicine, 13(4), 327-334.
Krizan, Z., & Hisler, G. (2016). The essential role of sleep in self-regulation. Handbook of self-regulation (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.
Krizan, Z., & Herlache, A. D. (2016). Sleep disruption and aggression: Implications for violence and its prevention. Psychology of Violence, 6(4), 542.
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