Lack of proper sleep not only makes you feel tired and groggy but can also have far-reaching effects on your mental health. A new study suggests that sleep loss reduces positivity and increases the risk for anxiety symptoms.

In the study, published by the American Psychological Association, researchers looked into data from 154 studies across 50 years, with a total of 5,715 participants. The participants had disrupted sleep for one or more nights. After the disrupted sleep, at least one emotion-related variable of the participants was evaluated. This includes their self-reported mood, response to emotional stimuli, and measures of depression and anxiety symptoms.

The team examined three forms of sleep deprivation: one involved keeping participants awake for an extended period, another allowed participants a shorter sleep duration than usual, and the third type involved periodically waking participants throughout the night.

The analysis showed that all three types of sleep loss were associated with fewer positive emotions, such as joy, happiness and contentment, and increased anxiety symptoms such as a rapid heart rate and worry.

"This occurred even after short periods of sleep loss, like staying up an hour or two later than usual or after losing just a few hours of sleep. We also found that sleep loss increased anxiety symptoms and blunted arousal in response to emotional stimuli," said Cara Palmer, a study lead author from Montana State University.

However, the observed symptoms of depression and negative emotions (sadness, worry and stress) were smaller and less consistent.

A limitation of the study was the lack of age diversity as the majority of participants were young adults.

"In our largely sleep-deprived society, quantifying the effects of sleep loss on emotion is critical for promoting psychological health. This study represents the most comprehensive synthesis of experimental sleep and emotion research to date, and provides strong evidence that periods of extended wakefulness, shortened sleep duration, and nighttime awakenings adversely influence human emotional functioning," Palmer said.

"Research has found that more than 30% of adults and up to 90% of teens don't get enough sleep. The implications of this research for individual and public health are considerable in a largely sleep-deprived society. Industries and sectors prone to sleep loss, such as first responders, pilots and truck drivers, should develop and adopt policies that prioritize sleep to mitigate against the risks to daytime function and well-being," Palmer added.