Sleep-deprived men misread women’s sexual cues

One night of sleep deprivation leads to an increase in men’s perceptions of a woman’s interest in and desire to have sex, finds a new study from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.

The results showed that when well-rested, both men and women rated the sexual intent of women much lower than that of men. After just one sleepless night, however, men rated women’s interest in sex much higher; women were no longer seen as having lower sexual intent than men. The women involved in the study didn’t alter their answers after losing sleep.

According to the researchers, sleep deprivation causes frontal lobe impairment, which has a negative effect on decision-making processes, such as risk-taking, moral reasoning and inhibition. This was the first study to investigate the impact of sleep deprivation on romantic and sexual decision-making.