After simultaneously living with a newborn and a 2-year-old, I know that lack of sleep can severely affect a person's ability to stay calm in stressful situations. Now I have scientific proof to back me up and to rationalize my mama blow-ups. Researchers were able to peek inside some sleep deprived people's brains, and they were surprised by what they saw.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers were able to study the brain patterns of sleep deprived study participants. When the super sleepy participants were shown emotionally provocative photographs their "primal brains" became more active. In fact, the primitive emotional center of the brain was more active in the sleep deprived participants by 60 percent. Here is how one researcher explained the phenomenon:
"It is almost as though, without sleep, the brain reverts back to a more primitive pattern of activity, becoming unable to put emotional experiences into context and produce controlled, appropriate responses."
So, if you find yourself losing your cool often you might want to assess your sleep patterns. Getting at least six hours, or better yet, seven hours, of shut eye a night might raise your freak out threshold to modern levels.