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Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, once famously asked, “What do women want?” Well, researchers in Arkansas believe that they have the answer. And men would do well to listen.
What women want, if these scientists are to be believed, is for men to get more sleep. Their study shows that a single night of not getting enough sleep leads men to think women have more romantic interest in them than they really do. In addition, these sleep-deprived males over-perceive women’s interest in and intent to have sex.
And those perceptions are dead wrong.
According to the scientists, sleep deprivation causes impairment of the brain’s frontal lobe. That messes with your ability to make good decisions and understand your own risky behavior. It also warps your moral reasoning and suppresses your inhibitions.
“Our findings here are similar to those from studies using alcohol, which similarly inhibits the frontal lobe,” says researcher Jennifer Peszka, associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., who led the study. “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.”
Consequently, the best way for men to improve their relationships with the opposite sex is to get to bed earlier. By themselves.