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Lack of Sleep Might Make You More Selfish. Here's Why

Lack of Sleep Might Make You More Selfish. Here's Why

When you have a crummy night’s rest, a grumpy morning is almost always sure to follow. 

Recent research supports the theory that there’s a scientific link between lack of sleep and poor mood. 

Lowered generosity, poor impulse control, and increased anger are proven symptoms of a lack of sleep. 

Therefore, poor sleep quality might literally make you a more selfish person. 

Sleep Less, Give Less

It’s no secret that sleep deprivation makes us feel less than our best. But a new study suggests that a lack of sleep also makes us less willing to help other people. 

Recent research from scientists at the University of California, Berkeley shows that even just one night of sleep deprivation leads to reduced activity in an area of the brain linked to empathy and social behavior. 

A related experiment found that an hour of sleep loss attributed to Daylight Saving Time might lead to lowered rates of charitable giving. 

Three people donating goods

Aside from charitable giving, researchers found that individuals short on sleep were less likely to hold open the door for others, help someone with their grocery bags, and assist others in general. 

Long story short? Sleep deprivation doesn’t just hurt us, it hurts those around us by making the world a less generous, kind place. 

These remarkably lower rates of giving may relate to the rise in anger and irritability that follows sleep debt. 

Poor Sleep is Irritating…Literally!

That added irritability you may feel the morning after a late night isn’t just in your head. 

New research from Iowa State University found that people who get less than a few hours of sleep than normal feel angrier than usual. 

Moreover, those who aren’t adequately rested have a harder time adapting to frustrating situations when compared to those who get a good night’s rest. 

Frustrated man

In the study, participants listened to uncomfortable sounds and asked questions designed to measure their levels of anger. 

Those who had their sleep duration restricted reported higher levels of anger than normal, regardless of the type of noise they listened to. 

While researchers aren’t yet sure if sleep loss leads to a rise in anger or if pre-existing anger causes sleep loss, the link between the two is undeniable. 

We’re more likely to lash out when we’re tired. This lack of impulse control is likely due to the cognitive and emotional impairments tied to sleep debt. 

Lowered Impulse Control

Sleep debt leads to negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and decreased enthusiasm. 

Studies show that the increase in sadness and decrease in happiness caused by short sleep makes emotional regulation, including impulse control, harder than usual.

Therefore, poor sleep makes you more likely to fly off the handle or reach for junk food. 

Over time, lack of sleep may even impair your body’s ability to respond to insulin. Increased appetite follows. 

Poor impulse control coupled with a high appetite creates the perfect recipe for obesity and additional health problems related to poor diet. 

Person with cheeseburger

As appetite rises and sleep debt builds, high stress levels follow.

As a result, the body releases more cortisol, a stress hormone known to cause high blood pressure and anxiety over time. 

Long-term depression is an additional risk of high cortisol and poor sleep, establishing sleep as a powerful player for brain health, emotional health, and quality of life. 

In fact, sleep is a major ingredient required for an active social life. 

Lack of Sleep is Killing Your Social Life

When we’re sleepy, we’re far less likely to interact with others. 

And we send that message out, too. 

Research proves that sleeplessness typically causes people to send out social cues that indicate to others that they aren’t in the mood to talk.

We aren’t completely sure whether this signal is conscious or unconscious, but it has a negative impact on social connections. 

When we’re given signals that someone doesn’t want to speak to us, we leave that interaction feeling lonelier, too. 

Self-isolation due to that loneliness follows, which tends to keep many people up at night. 

Woman sleeping on table

Therefore, as we lose sleep, we continue to make ourselves lonelier because we simply aren’t in the mood to be social. 

It’s a seemingly endless cycle that begins and ends with sleep loss. 

The more time you spend awake, the more the health of your social and emotional relationships depends on your ability to correct your sleep patterns. 

Sleep is the cornerstone of good health, but achieving quality sleep isn’t always easy. 

The first step to building adequate sleep? Start tracking how behind you are with a sleep debt calculator. 

Calculate Your Sleep Debt

Even if you think you get enough sleep each night, you may be slowly building sleep debt in the background. 

Like any debt, sleep debt quietly creeps in. Sleep debt refers to the difference between how much sleep you need versus how much you actually get. 

For example, if you need seven hours one night and only get four, you’ve built up a sleep debt of three hours. The following night, you may get eight hours, bringing your sleep debt down to two hours for the week. 

If the next night you need seven hours but only sleep five, you’ve added two hours to your sleep debt total. That means you’re at a four-hour deficit for the week. 

You may think it’s no big deal and that an extra four hours of sleep over the weekend can reset your sleep debt calculations to zero. This idea is false. 

In reality, it can take days to pay off sleep debt. It’s better to increase your sleep time slowly each day by 15 to 30 minutes each night. Consistent sleep hygiene is the only answer. 

To determine your current level of sleep loss, use the Sleep Debt Calculator from Sleepopolis. 

To use the Sleep Debt Calculator, first think about how much sleep you should get versus how much you actually got last night. 

Enter your sleep duration from Monday to Sunday. The Sleep Debt Calculator will add up your totals and provide a total number of hours for the week. 

Sleep Debt Calculator

From there, the Sleep Debt Calculator determines how short you are on sleep for the week in total, providing an estimate of how poor or healthy your current sleep hygiene truly is. 

Sleep Debt Calculator

Once you’ve used the Sleep Debt Calculator, make changes to get your sleep habits back on track. 

Get Sleep Back on Track With SomniFix

Keeping a regular bedtime is key for a healthy sleep pattern. That means going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning, even on weekends!

Shift your bedtime up by 15 to 20 minutes each night until you reach a sleep duration of at least seven hours per night. 

Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and stop drinking alcohol at least three hours before bed, as it has a rebound effect that diminishes rapid eye movement (REM) sleep later in the night.


@somnifix A nightcap may help you initially fall asleep, but it comes at a cost later in the night, according to Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman 🍷 #biohack #cocktailhour #hubermanlab #sleep ♬ original sound - Somnifix


Finally, turn your attention to your overnight breathing habits. If you breathe in and out of your mouth during sleep, you aren’t sleeping as efficiently as you could.

Open mouth breathing causes snoring, poor oxygenation, and shifts the body into overdrive by activating our fight or flight response. 

When we mouth breathe, airway tissues fall backward and vibrate together. Snoring follows, waking us from deep sleep and fragmenting sleep quality.

The mouth was made for eating, drinking, and talking – not breathing! The nose was specifically designed to filter, warm, and humidify our breath. 

Moreover, our noses produce nasal nitric oxide, a vasodilator that helps boost immunity and oxygenation. 

So how do you keep your mouth from falling open during sleep? The answer may surprise you: tape your mouth shut before bed!

Mouth tape has gained traction as a sleep tool that prevents snoring and promotes restorative rest. Athletes even use mouth tape to boost performance and endurance. 

Most tapes contain toxic chemicals that cause skin rashes, so that’s why we created SomniFix: a gentle solution for sensitive skin. 

Our Strips are hypoallergenic and free from both latex and gluten. 

We’ve also added a patented central breathing vent to our Strips that will help you acclimate to the sensation of overnight mouth taping and nasal breathing. 

If you become congested overnight, this backup mouth breathing option is on standby for added peace of mind. 

Sleep is one area of life where it’s okay to be selfish. SomniFix helps ensure your most quality rest yet so you can finally pay sleep debt down and get back to your kind, generous true self! 

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