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Could Sleep Influence If You Are a Good or a Bad Person?

August 30, 2017


Does too little or too much sleep = personality changes?

We live in a fast-paced world where time poverty is seen as something of a status symbol. Sacrificing sleep in favour of a longer workday is becoming the norm. This also often means increased hours of staring at computer and mobile screens that emit blue light, further hampering our ability to enjoy restful sleep when we finally go to bed.

While it is obvious that this is not a healthy habit, it is actually much worse than that - studies are suggesting that chronic sleep deprivation actually has the potential to alter your personality. That seems a little extreme, we know, but science backs up this seemingly far-fetched claim.

The scientific inquiry into sleep deprivation and personality changes really kicked off in the late fifties, when a popular New York DJ stayed awake continuously for 200 hours to raise money for charity. He also continued to host his radio show, which means the results of his prolonged wakeful period were evident to a wide array of listeners. Normally cheerful and upbeat, the DJ became irritable as early as three days into the wake-a-thon, cursing and insulting listeners and even close friends. Towards the end of the 200 hours, hy began to hallucinate and show signs of extreme paranoia.

When scientists replicated the conditions in a controlled environment, they soon realised why the DJ had reacted the way he did - the amygdala, an area deep in the brain known to be our emotional control center, becomes detached from the medial prefrontal cortex during periods of sleep deprivation. The medial prefrontal cortex regulates the function of the amygdala, which mediates its reaction to negative stimuli like irritation. As such, sleep-deprived individuals experience greater stress and anger than someone who has had sufficient sleep. This can lead to irrational emotional responses. It was also found that sleep deprivation has the potential to lead to risky behaviour and a lack of adequate foresight when left unchecked.

The jury is still out on whether sufficient sleep has the potential to permanently alter a person’s base personality, but one thing is for sure - a good night’s rest has many physical and mental health benefits. Set the stage for some quality shut-eye by investing in a mattress that suits your lifestyle needs. Finding a bed that ticks all of your comfort boxes is half the battle won, so take the time to select a mattress that will do just that.


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