We often focus on the role of sleep in metabolism, weight loss, and physical fitness. But, did you know that adequate sleep is vital for communication and relationships? All it takes is three nights of sleeping less than 7 hours before sleep deprivation begins to alter your behavior and communication.1
If you are sleeping less than 7 hours most nights of the week, take a moment to read this article as it may shed some light on how others may be perceiving you in ways that deviate from your best and rested self. Developing this awareness might help you make intentional shifts in your sleep patterns to help support positive communication in your relationships.
Leading Behavioral Tendencies & Sleep Deprivation
We all have different leading behavioral tendencies. DiSC-based questionnaires and quizzes can help you discover which one of four leading behaviors – (D)ominance, (i)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C)onscientiousness) – you tend to exhibit most.
There is not an “ideal” behavioral tendency. In fact, people can be a mixture of all four behaviors, but they generally fall into the same one or two of the categories more often than not. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact these leading behaviors, which can end up breaking down communication and relationships.
D = Dominance
If you naturally lead with D, you prefer action over detailed deliberation and have a competitive and results-oriented mindset. When sleep-deprived, you may come across as demanding, impatient, and impulsive — traits that can lead to arguments, isolation, and the thought that others don’t like you.
i = influence
If you lead with i, you tend to be inspirational, like a cheerleader, wanting everyone to do well and be happy. When this dominant behavior gets out of balance due to inadequate sleep, others might perceive you as over-reacting to their drama while escalating your own responses and failing to truly listen. Over time, these traits will negatively impact relationship quality, especially if your loved ones feel you aren't listening to them in their time of need.
S = Steadiness
If you lead with S, you like to focus on harmony, consistency, and what you can do to help others. This behavior tends toward introversion. Out of balance, it surfaces as isolation, lack of response, and silence. While this may be a self-recovery mechanism, this also portrays the image that you are not interested in interacting with other people. Soon, your loved ones may stop reaching out to you. They might even feel hurt that you vanished from their lives without an explanation.
C = Conscientiousness
If you lead with C, you tend to be detail-oriented and use caution to obtain details before embarking on new adventures or entering into committed relationships. When unbalanced due to lack of sleep, you may start questioning everything. Others might view this as nit-picking and judging, potentially causing them to become argumentative and passive aggressive, or they may try to avoid you altogether.
Time To Get More Sleep
Now that you know what to be aware of based on your leading behavioral tendencies, you can use this awareness to intentionally balance out your communication in times of sleep deprivation. However, this intentional override is only a short-term band-aid. A band-aid that can stress your already tired brain, leading to greater fatigue and further breakdown of communication.
The long-term solution is re-evaluating life commitments so that you can make time for at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If that task seems daunting, begin by going to bed 10 minutes earlier every night. Once you’ve mastered this additional 10 minutes, add another 10 minutes. Just like physical fitness, keep practicing and progressing until you’ve achieved your goal.
Meet Your Contributor: Dr. Meredith Butulis holds a Master’s in Business Administration, Doctorate and Board Certifications in Sport/Orthopedic Physical Therapy, minor in Psychology, and certifications as an Exercise Physiologist, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer, and Yoga/Pilates Instructor practicing since 1998. She is the creator of the ISSA Fitness Comeback Coaching Certification, author of the Mobility | Stability Equation Books, host of The Fitness Comeback Coaching Podcast, and Assistant Professor at the State College of Florida. Learn more on IG @Dr.MeredithButulis or visit her website.
- Banks S; Dinges DF. Behavioral and physiological consequences of sleep restriction. J Clin Sleep Med 2007;3(5):519-528.