Finally, a justification for your deep, abiding hatred of the night-owl neighbors who won't turn down their godforsaken TV set: Interrupted sleep is damn near just as bad as outright sleep deprivation. Might as well just get out of bed and read The Goldfinch until they shut up at 3 a.m.
The findings, newly published in the journal Sleep Medicine, come out of Tel Aviv University, reports Science Daily (via The Science of Us). Researchers tested student volunteers who slept normally for one night, then slept for eight hours (but with four interruptions via phone). This wreaked havoc:
Prof. Sadeh and his colleagues Michal Kahn, Shimrit Fridenson, Reut Lerer, and Yair Ben-Haim establish a causal link between interrupted sleep patterns and compromised cognitive abilities, shortened attention spans, and negative moods. The researchers discovered that interrupted sleep is equivalent to no more than four consecutive hours of sleep.
Might as well have gotten up and binge-watched something. But that's the real bear — generally you don't know when you're going to get interrupted.
As the Science of Us points out, this is particularly disheartening for anyone expecting a baby. But for the crotchety New Yorkers constantly complaining about all-hours noise-polluting ice-cream trucks? Vindication.