Sleep deprivation can lead to an increased sense of optimism. It's not purely a psychological thing, either — the physical parts of the brain that assess positive outcomes actually become more sensitive during sleep deprivation, and those that react to negative outcomes are less sensitive. This is one of the reasons why people who gamble while deprived of sleep do much more poorly than their well-rested peers.
More facts about sleep:
- The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) call sleep deprivation a "public health epidemic" — almost half of Americans say they never or almost never get a good night's sleep on weekdays.
- Men and women are about equally as likely to be deprived of sleep. About 40 percent of both men and women report unintentionally falling asleep at least once a month.
- Between 50 million and 70 million Americans have sleep and wakefulness disorder, a condition in which the body has a hard time going to sleep as well as a hard time waking up.