The Problem: Lack of sleep can impair our ability to be good friends and partners.
The Science: New research confirms that exhaustion limits our ability to read others’ emotions.
The Solution: Try these 3 techniques to sleep better and be your best self!
Do you ever feel exhausted from your day, check the clock, and see that it is only 2 p.m.? A lack of sleep not only affects our mood and productivity, but new research shows it can also affect our interpersonal relations. When you have been kept up late through work, crying kids, or binging on Netflix, your ability to read the emotions of others takes a hit. Combining fatigue, ill-temperedness, and a reduced perception of other’s emotions, you have a recipe for damaging some of your closest relationships.
The latest research from the University of Arizona showed that sleep deprivation impairs our ability to read what others are telling us with their facial expressions. William Killgore, the lead researcher at UA and a professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, noted that a lack of sleep impacts recognition of ‘social’ emotions, such as happiness and sadness. Killgore notes, “…it could affect how you’re reading people in everyday interactions.” and that “…this could lead to problems in your relationships or problems at work.”
Has your significant other ever come home upset or frustrated and you have failed to notice, often escalating their negative state? A lack of sleep not only hurts your ability to be your best self – harming your productivity and making you perceivably less attractive – but also numbs your awareness of the needs of those around you.
Read the Facial Cues
Research shows the importance of reading facial expressions in social relationships. Identifying emotions forms the basis of a science known as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is all about identifying and understanding emotional cues and regulating and expressing them appropriately. High emotional intelligence has been linked with many beneficial outcomes – but most importantly – relationship satisfaction.
While we may not always be able to get a full night’s sleep, we can be more aware of how our current state is affecting our interactions with others. This is the basis of emotional intelligence and could be the start of improving your relationships with others.
3 Ways Sleep Deeper
1. Power down before bed
You may have heard it before, but the light from computer screens actually keeps you alert and has been shown to fight off your fatigue. A sound advice to sleep better is to not look at a screen before going to bed.
2. Leave your phone alone
Similarly to point one, having your phone next to you to potentially disrupt your sleep will not help you out. Try placing your phone out of reach, turning it on silent, or turning it off altogether.
3. Work out, pass out
Those who exercise report a higher quality of sleep than those who do not work out, even if they sleep the same number of hours. Not only will exercise benefit your health, but better sleep will improve your relationship quality and overall productivity.