Sleep deprivation can turn the best of people into nonchalant jerks. Blame your brain for this loss of self-control. Research in the Journal of Applied Psychology opines that less than adequate shut eye can make one more likely to be prejudiced.
Study author Sonia Ghumman, PhD at Department of Management, Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai, says missing sleep results in depletion of your self-control, thus widening the gaps in your bigotry filter. “If you get less sleep on a daily basis, you get worse at regulating the prejudices you know are wrong,” says Ghumman.
The study further says that an individual who has depleted his/her self-regulatory resources because of a prior activity involving self-control (for example, resisting tempting treats) will be less successful at suppressing prejudice. Sleep, in general, has been shown to have powerful restorative effects on the human body and on executive functions such as decision making.
In contrast, a good night’s sleep is shown to replenish one’s body and is essential for long-term health and mental functioning, says the study.
The sleep-loss trend is largely driven by broad societal factors such as greater access to TV and the Internet and reliance on longer work hours and odd timings at work, says a study conducted by National Center for Biotechnology Information.
The study explores another broader question — why do we get cranky when we’re tired?
Without proper sleep, your memory, learning and thought processes are all impaired, which forces you to confront the daily demands of the day with constrained resources, says New Delhi-based senior clinical psychologist Bhavna Barmi, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.
While these deficiencies are enough to make you annoyed, Dr Barmi says there’s increased activity in the part of your brain called amygdala — which regulates emotions such as anger and rage in the sleep-deprived. There are two types of distress due to sleep deprivation — cognitive and emotional. “At a cognitive level, it can mess with your thought process where you are more likely to think of pros and cons of a situation without coming up with a solution. At an emotional level, one might experience anxiety, fear, panic attacks, bouts of depression, mood swings, loss of appetite, etc.,” adds Barmi.
Persistent loss of sleep not only fosters negative emotions, it leaves you less capable of handling those negative feelings.
Not sleeping well? Dr Barmi suggests the following ways to get quality sleep:
* Avoid watching TV and engaging with social media an hour before sleep.
* Follow a sleep hygiene measure with these following steps: Take a warm water bath before bed, soak your feet in warm water and massage from heel to toe and have a glass of warm, moderately sweetened milk.
* Close your eyes and concentrate on deep breathing — breathe in a feeling of relaxation and breathe out all your day’s anxieties.
Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies are also to blame. Research shows Vitamin C from citrus fruits, and lycopene from tomatoes all are useful sleep regulators. So, make sure you’re getting your nutrients in required doses.