Despite there being no difference in average sleep quality between men and women, the results indicate that women’s motivation was more impacted after a night of poor sleep than men’s.
As the study’s lead author, Leah Sheppard Ph.D., explains in a news release, “When women are getting a good night’s sleep and their mood is boosted, they are more likely to be oriented in their daily intentions toward achieving status and responsibility at work. If their sleep is poor and reduces their positive mood, then we saw that they were less oriented toward those goals.”
Going forward, the researchers add, figuring out the mechanisms underlying sex differences in sleep’s impact on motivation is an important thing to look at. Presently, we can only speculate why women are more affected, with the researchers noting that it could be a combination of sex differences in emotion regulation and societal expectations.
But if there’s anything to gather from these findings, it’s that working women can expect their motivation to suffer when their sleep suffers, too. The good news, however, is that the inverse is also true—and quality sleep could mean more motivation.