Wednesday, June 12, 2013

First Beer Goggles, now Sleep Goggles


You may have heard of "beer goggles" -- a sly way of describing how people seem to become less picky about potential sex partners when they've had a few drinks.

Now, a 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 where none exist.

"Sleepy men think women are more interested in them than when the men are not sleepy. We don't know why," said study lead author Jennifer Peszka, an associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.

The findings, based on responses to surveys instead of real-life encounters, aren't definitive and don't say whether the men are accurately reading women's signals. And it's unclear if sleepy men would be more likely to inappropriately pursue women they believe to be sexually interested in them.

In the big picture, the study raises questions about whether sleep has the same perception-dulling effects on men as alcohol, Peszka said.

"If you're a man and you're sleepy, you could make a mistake in judging whether someone's interested in you," Peszka said. Sleepiness had no effect on women's perceptions of whether men were interested in them, but Peszka had a message for them, too: Since sleepy men "could make a mistake, you need to be very clear about what you want."

What's going on? Peszka suspects that the effect of sleepiness on the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls things such as decision-making and control of emotions, could be a major factor.


The above story is based on the May 30, 2013 news release by the American Academyof Sleep Medicine.

The research abstract entitled “The effects of sleep deprivation on perceptual processes involved in human mating decisions” was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP

More information

For more about sleep, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine. 

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