The weird reason you are extra annoyed by your coworkers on a Zoom call right now

If you’re irritated and reacting more negatively to your colleagues during remote video-conference meetings, there might be an explanation of why you’re experiencing this during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In normal circumstances, seeing your colleagues should elicit some sort of camaraderie and offer an outlet for some friendly chatter — especially during the coronavirus outbreak — where social distancing has forced human contact to come to a half, but a new study found that when sleep is restricted for several nights in a row, the once pleasant and neutral delicacies can turn into darker perceptions.

New research published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that five nights of just five hours of sleep per night can really change the way one perceives what’s around them.

Researchers gathered up 42 people where over a two-week period, they recorded the participants’ reactions to 90 images after five nights of normal sleep. The images were a buffet of emotions that included pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant photos, according to the study.

Researchers noted participants’ reactions to the same photos after a restricted sleeping schedule for five consecutive days. They also measured mood and other behavioral disorders of the participants before the study.

Following the sleep restriction course, researchers found that negative moods significantly increased, with participants more likely to rate images perceived as pleasant and neutral as negative.

“Insufficient sleep may impose a negative emotional bias, leading to an increased tendency to evaluate emotional stimuli as negative,” said lead author Daniela Tempesta of the University of L’Aquila. “Considering the pervasiveness of insufficient sleep in modern society, our results have potential implications for daily life, as well as in clinical settings.”