A new study has found a link between lack of the sleep and reduced ability to regulate your behavior. One side-effect of this, researchers found, was a increased tendency to procrastinate.
Individuals who have low self-regulation are more prone to procrastination than those with high self-regulation. Now, in a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that quality sleep mediates our ability to resist browsing social media or engaging in some other mindless activity in favor of more productive endeavors.
The research team recruited 71 healthy adults who worked in a wide range of fields. Each participant self-reported their sleep quality and tendency to procrastinate at the workplace over a period of 10 workdays. To gauge their level of procrastination, participants had to rate how much they agreed with statements such as “Today, I promised myself I would something, and then dragged my feet.”
Low-quality sleep was associated with higher levels of procrastination in the following day. This effect was moderated by an individual’s self-regulation — that is, individuals with low self-control were even more affected by the quality of their sleep than those with high self-control.
The findings make sense because keeping yourself focused to meet goals is mentally taxing, occupying a lot of cognitive resources. Poor sleep simply doesn’t replenish our energy enough, so we become more prone to engage in unproductive activities. Interestingly, even individuals with high self-control would become very vulnerable to procrastination following low-quality sleep.
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