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Sleep Deprivation And Sex: Tired Men Think Women Are More Interested Than They Actually Are

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Tired men may be more likely to overestimate how interested a woman is in them sexually, says a new study. Researchers found that just one night of sleep deprivation made men's perception of women's sexual interest and intent increase significantly.

The study used a 60-person sample of college students, so it would take more research to know if the results are true of the general population, but some of the take-aways are interesting.

The study was conducted like this: Participants were asked to rate their agreement with a series of statements about their own sexual interest and intentions, and the sexual interest and intent of men and women in general, such as: "When a woman goes out to a bar, how likely is it that she is interested in finding someone to have sex with that night?”

Jennifer Peszka, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College and the lead author on the study, summed up the study's results in a press release for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:

Our findings here are similar to those from studies using alcohol, which similarly inhibits the frontal lobe. 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.

Peszka will be presenting the full study results on June 4th at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Baltimore, Md.

We've known for years that sleep deprivation can impair your judgment as much as binge drinking can, but this study seems to provide yet another compelling reason for men to complete their REM cycles. Being well-rested could make a man better able to discern when a woman is interested in him -- or not.

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