Sleep: Too Little May Cause Loss Of Self-Control

First Posted: Jul 02, 2015 03:14 PM EDT

A bad night's rest can mess with anyone's head. But did you know that poor sleep habits can also affect our self-control?

New findings conducted by researchers at Clemson University examined just how sleep-deprived individuals may be at an increased risk of succumbing to impulsive desires, overall inattentiveness and potentially questionable decision-making.

"Self-control is part of daily decision-making. When presented with conflicting desires and opportunities, self-control allows one to maintain control," said study author June Pilcher, Clemson Alumni Distinguished Professor of psychology, in a news release. "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."

Poor sleep habits include inconsistent sleep times and not enough hours of sleep, period. And, as previous research has shown how individuals working non-stop can result in chronic sleep loss, this may lead to chronic difficulties in decision making and attention span during the day. Studies have also linked sleep deprivation to a potential increase in hostility in some individuals.

Based on their findings, presented in the study titled "Interactions between Sleep Habits and Self-Control," researchers reiterated the importance of getting a full night's rest. Of course, we know that based on age, some may need more or less sleep than others. To find out exactly how much is right for you, visit the National Sleep Foundation's page, here.

"Many aspects of our daily lives can be affected by better-managed sleep and self-control capacity," Pilcher concluded. "Improved health and worker performance are two potential benefits, but societal issues such as addictions, excessive gambling and over spending could also be more controllable when sleep deficiencies aren't interfering with one's decision making."

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