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Sleep Deprivation Leads To Harsher Punishments, Study Says

flickr / Chris DiGiamo

Sleep deprivation and parenting are like your kid’s leftover grilled cheese and a cold beer: They just go together. No matter how much research says that not sleeping is bad for your health, the economy, and your Starbucks barista, research won’t babysit your kid for you. A new study suggests that sleeplessness could result in harsher punishments for your youngster too. In your defense, they started it.

The paper, published in the February 2017 issue of Psychological Science, looked at prison sentences handed out by criminal court judges between 1992 and 2003. Using data obtained from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, they compared punishments given the Monday after the spring time change to those given on Mondays the week before and the week after. As judicial districts can vary in terms of sentence severity, researchers then controlled for the types of crime committed and the specific court trying the case.

Researchers found that judges gave sentences that were 5 percent more severe the week after the time change. By the following Tuesday, however, the effect ceased. Meaning? Lack of sleep appears to determine the harsher. This falls in line with past research that shows how sleep deprivation can negatively impact your parenting. On a fun note, it can also lead to false confessions, so keep that in your back pocket when you interrogate your kids.

Outside of the judicial system, there are plenty of ways to discipline your kid without time-outs, but experts advise parents to be more consistent than harsh. It’s also in your best interest to be calm. Do your best to table these teachable moments for when you’re at least a little rested … and maybe petition to cancel out daylight savings time.

[H/T] Psychology Today