This article might offend some people, but please bear with me till the end and pay attention to the science mentioned in this article. As a therapist in practice for over 30 years I have had a lot of firsthand experience with this topic. Most people would not think that one all-nighter could lead to adultery, but science shows that even one night of missed sleep can have lasting effects on your life; possibly even affecting your genes.
At night your body is repairing itself, and when you don’t get enough sleep, your circadian rhythms are misaligned. As a result, your blood sugar is impaired and the presence of melatonin is altered. This is especially true for people who work late-shift jobs or travel a lot, so their normal eating and sleeping times are off. This explains the high incidence of adultery in the patients in my practice who travel frequently. They are suffering from “burnout,” blood sugar imbalances, and imbalances in their brain chemicals. I call this a Biochemical Craving for Connection (adultery) and craving for sugar and alcohol, which my patients frequent to get the “high” to minimize the low from minimal sleep.
When you’re sleep deprived, judgement and clarity is completely off. In fact, that is why Las Vegas has no clocks in the casinos. For people who gamble all night, with no sleep, the reward system becomes higher to take risks that they wouldn’t otherwise take. Lack of sleep with stress, loss, and separation can cause blood sugar issues and makes one more prone to adultery. The Harvard Business Review reports that in their study on the effects that sleep has on unethical behavior, a lack of sleep depleted self-control, which in turn led to unethical behavior. Remember, monogamy is a conscious decision to stay faithful.
Sleep deprivation gives you the munchies, and my patients turn to high carb foods or alcohol for high energy and a dopamine rush. This Biochemical Craving for Connection from the dopamine makes you feel alive and happy, until the crash comes, and then you feel a low and crave more sugar or alcohol. All of my patients who have been tested have blood sugar issues. Blood sugar issues cause fight or flight and thrill seeking to quell the low and get the high.
Lack of sleep affects the hormones and immune function. The body compensates for the stress, loss, and separation by the Biochemical Craving for Connection (adultery) to reverse the flow of low energy and feeling of malaise. Adultery acts like a pick me up when sugar no longer does the trick.
Ariana Huffington discusses in her book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, how behavior and relationships and emotion, health, and safety are affected by sleep. I see adultery in families from generation to generation. I have often felt that there is an adultery gene, so lack of sleep is a way of connecting the dots to stress, loss, and separation. Could there be a sleepless gene handed down? Could there be an adultery gene? Genes can affect your behavior and they can especially affect adultery.
Some researchers even found that men who missed out on just one night’s sleep rated women as significantly more interested in sex than usual. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation have been shown to affect decision making parts of the brain—similar to getting drunk. Advice to married or committed men: before you ask for a phone number with your wedding ring on, check how much sleep you’ve gotten.
Brain chemicals are hereditary, but they can be changed. Burnout comes from lack of sleep, stress, loss, and separation. It requires balancing brain chemicals with supplements, diet, exercise, 7.5-8 hours of sleep, and psychotherapy to see empathy return and adultery stop. I see recurrences of adultery 2 years later when my patients go off the diet, stop the supplements and psychotherapy, and start getting only 3-4 hours of sleep again. The clarity stops. Poor judgement occurs and there is a lack of empathy, which only further increases the adultery. It affects not only genes, but mood, which is a big problem in marital happiness.
Now that you know more about the importance of sleep for preventing addiction and your emotional, physical, and mental health, I want to share some tips for getting a good night’s rest:
- Keep bed time and wake up time consistent throughout the week and even on the weekend. This encourages natural circadian rhythms.
- Exercise helps you get a good night’s rest, but be careful! Do not exercise 4-6 hours before bed.
- Don’t drink caffeine more than 12 hours before bed. Caffeine stays in your system up to 14 hours. Caffeine disrupts the body’s internal clock. It does more than just keep you awake, it makes you want to go to sleep later.
- No alcohol before bed. While you may fall asleep quicker, it affects your REM sleep, making you restless and causing you to wake up several times during the night. Your quality of rest is diminished.
- No screen time before bed. That means no TV, no computer, and no smartphones after 9 pm. If you must look at a screen later, then absolutely no smartphones at least an hour before bed. The light from the screens throws off your body clock and keeps you up.
Granted, it seems unusual to link sleepless nights to adultery. And it sure seems that the science indicates that the part of the brain that rules self-control is affected by a lack of sleep. Given some of the evidence here do you think it's possible? Does it make you say "Hmm...?" What are your thoughts?