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How A Bad Night’s Sleep Erodes Your Self-Control

How A Bad Night’s Sleep Erodes Your Self-Control
Not getting enough sleep or sleeping for inconsistent times on different nights erodes people’s self-control and makes them more impulsive, inattentive and interferes with their abilities to make decisions, a study found.
July 06
11:01 2015
  • Poor sleep habits make people more impulsive, inattentive, and interferes with their decision making abilities, experts warn
  • Experts: This can seriously affect a person’s personal and professional life
  • Sleep deprivation leads to issues like weight gain and high blood pressure
  • Good sleep habits lead to improved health and performance at work

Whether it’s because you have to stay late in the office, or because you can’t resist one last episode of a late-night TV show, many of us do not get enough rest.

But poor sleep habits can erode our self-control, a study found.

Sleep-deprivation affects a person’s ability to make decisions and means they become impulsive and inattentive, scientists warned.

Furthermore, these qualities can have serious effects on their personal and professional lives, they said.

“Self-control is part of daily decision-making. When presented with conflicting desires and opportunities, self-control allows one to maintain control,” said co-author Professor June Pilcher, of Clemson University in South Carolina.

‘Our study explored how sleep habits and self-control are interwoven and how sleep habits and self-control may work together to affect a person’s daily functioning.’

Previous research has shown individuals working in today’s 24-hour-a-day global economy often times sleep less or at irregular times, resulting in poor sleep and prolonged sleep deprivation, which affects decision-making.

“Exercising self-control allows one to make better choices when presented with conflicting desires and opportunities.

“That has far-reaching implications to a person’s career and personal life,’ Dr Pilcher said.

Poor sleep habits, which include sleeping for different number of hours every night and not having enough hours of sleep can also lead to health problems.

These include weight gain and high blood pressure among other illnesses, according to prior research.

Studies have also found that sleep deprivation decreases self-control but increases hostility in people, which can create problems in the workplace and at home,’ Dr Pilcher added.

Better sleep habits can contribute to a more stable level of energy reserves in the day.

The more energy a person has the more likely they are to make more difficult choices rather than opting for the easier choice or the easier task.

“Many aspects of our daily lives can be affected by better-managed sleep and self-control capacity,” Dr Pilcher said.

He added that societal problems like addictions, excessive gambling and over spending could also be more controllable when sleep deficiencies aren’t interfering with one’s decision making.

And good sleep habits certainly led to improved health and worker performance, he concluded.

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