Monday, March 12, 2007

The Evening Bulletin - Lack Of Sleep Blurs Moral Judgment

The Evening Bulletin - Lack Of Sleep* Blurs Moral Judgment

First they were tested to determine their EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. The people with lower emotional intelligence did worse when sleep-deprived.

This seems to me like another one of those "study of the obvious" research projects (which is EQ, i.e., common sense), but always good to get confirmed. Whenever I read of one of these, I think of doctors. It always seemed to me (married to one through all his training and afterwards), that one of the things bring tested for during internship and residency, was the ability to function intellectually and morally while sleep-deprived. After all, a doctor's emergency patients don't conform to having their crises during normal waking hours.

Lack of sleep blurs mental and emotional ability, just like alchohol does -- it affects the brain, the higher faculties of the brain.

When you are running low on sleep, BE AWARE of what this does to your brain and adjust.

Other people sorely tested in this area are parents of newborns. More than a few cases of child abuse are the result of severe sleep deprivation.

Some tricks to remember when you're seriously behind on sleep:

1. BE AWARE that it will effect your judgment -- as well as other capacities. (The first to go is motor ability.)
2. Refuse to make any decision you don't have to.
3. Ask yourself through the fog, "What would I do if at my best?"
4. Know that you must control your temper when exhausted ... and do so.
5. Realize that certain drugs mask exhaustion, such as cocaine and phentermine.
6. Don't put yourself in positions requiring "moral" behavior when exhausted, i.e., working long hours overtime with that lucious boss of yours when you're both married, and both attracted to one another. Try and make sure someone else is there.
7. WARN your trusted other that you are sleep-deprived. They can then cut you come slack, and also help you monitor your actions. (Listen to them!)
8. Words/speaking are "behaviors." Guard your tongue. Say you are too tired to "argue" about this now. Ask for a time out. TAKE a time out.
9. Realize what tasks require "moral judgment" or circumscribed behavior, You can do math while exhausted, but if it's your income tax, are you more likely to cut a few corners? Probably. You can change the baby's diaper and fix the bottle, but are you likely to react in a short-tempered way to their emotional outburst? You bet. You can clean house when exhausted, but notice that you are more likely to sweep dust under the rug... there are few tasks, really, that don't involve good judgment. That's why emotional intelligence is so important -- it applies to the most important things in life. Being sleep-deprived is like being drunk. You can put together a casserole, but if it drops on the floor, would you scoop it back into the casserole or throw it out, like you're supposed to?


People with high emotional intelligence are SELF-AWARE and this allows them to monitor their own behavior, as if watching someone else. This is called the "observing ego" and not everyone has it.

*These subjects were deprived of sleep for 53 hours.
There is always something known as "sleep deprivatio psychosis" (often referred to by medical students and new parents) where you lose it all.

As they say in the article, when you've got something important to decide (or do) -- SLEEP ON IT!

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