Men Who Sleep Less Are Seen as More Masculine

Sleep, or lack thereof rather, is considered to be a reflection of masculinity. By both men and women!

We already know that men avoid seeking medical help, are less likely to wear facemasks, and are more likely to engage in risky behaviours.

And some productivity/performance gurus have been advocating that you reduce your sleep as a way to gain more productive hours!

But reducing sleep is counter productive

Reducing sleep by only 2 hours a night reduces our level of alertness. This is counter productive because we need a high level of alertness if we are to achieve optimal performance. 

If you think that you can make up sleep you've lost during the week on the weekend, you're wrong. The research shows that you can't: Your level of alertness doesn't return even after 3 nights of normal sleep.

Restricted sleep doesn't just affect your alertness. It also makes you angrier, more frustrated, and less tolerant. In effect, it reduces your emotional intelligence, a crucial skill for leaders.

We're bad at judging how tired we really are

It doesn't matter if you don't feel tired: We're notoriously bad at judging how sleep deprived we really are. If you're restricting your sleep, your alertness and emotional intelligence will be reduced anyway, even if you don't feel sleepy. 

The most damaging consequence of all:

And over time, sleep restriction could lead to developing Alzheimer's dementia.


Belenky, G., Wesensten, N., Thorne, D., Thomas, M., Sing, H., Redmond, D., … Balkin, T. (2003). Patterns of performance degradation and restoration during sleep restriction and subsequent recovery: a sleep dose‐response study. Journal of Sleep Research, 12(1), 1–12. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2869.2003.00337.x

Warren, N.B., & Campbell, T. H. (2020). The sleep-deprived masculinity stereotype. Journal of Consumer Research. DOI:

Zhao, Z., Zhao, X., & Veasey, S. (2017). Neural Consequences of Chronic Short Sleep: Reversible or Lasting? Frontiers in Neurology, 8, 235.

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