New research indicates that lack of sleep has a direct relation to lack of self control.
In a study titled “Interactions between Sleep Habits and Self-Control,” Clemson psychologists concluded a sleep-deprived individual is at increased risk for succumbing to impulsive desires, inattentiveness and 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 June Pilcher, Clemson Alumni Distinguished Professor of psychology, one of four authors of the study. “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 have irregular sleep patterns, 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,” Pilcher said.
Poor sleep habits, which include inconsistent sleep times and not enough hours of sleep, can also lead to health problems, including weight gain, hypertension and illness, 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,” Pilcher said.
Better sleep habits can contribute to a more stable level of daily energy reserves, research has indicated. Availability of energy can refuel a person’s ability to make more difficult choices rather than opting for the easier choice or the easier task.