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Sleep deprived men misjudge women’s interest

Filed in
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • relationships
  • poor sleep

By Lynn Celmer  |  Jun 18, 2013
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new study suggests that one night of sleep deprivation leads to an increase in men’s perceptions of both women’s interest in and intent to have sex.

“Our findings here are similar to those from studies using alcohol, which similarly inhibits the frontal lobe,” said co-principal investigator Jennifer Peszka, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., who led the study along with her colleague Jennifer Penner, PhD.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP, and Peszka presented the findings Tuesday, June 4, in Baltimore, Md., at SLEEP 2013, the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results show that when they were well-rested, both men and women rated the sexual intent of women as significantly lower than that of men. However, following one night of sleep deprivation, men’s rating of women’s sexual intent and interest increased significantly, to the extent that women were no longer seen as having lower sexual intent than men.  Sleep deprivation had no significant effect on variables related to commitment.

“Sleep deprivation could have unexpected effects on perceptual experiences related to mating and dating that could lead people to engage in sexual decisions that they might otherwise not when they are well-rested.  Poor decision-making in these areas can lead to problems such as sexual harassment, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and relationship conflicts which are all factors that have serious medical, educational and economic implications for both the individual and for society.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers sleep disorders an illness that has reached epidemic proportions. Board-certified sleep medicine physicians in an AASM-accredited sleep center provide effective treatment.  AASM encourages patients to talk to their doctors about sleep problems or visit www.sleepeducation.com for a searchable directory of sleep centers.


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