From navigating the workplace, learning to read others, increasing your productivity, improving your relationships, and executing on your daily healthy habits--emotional intelligence has its fingerprints over all those areas of life.

In fact, you can easily deduce that your emotional intelligence is one of the biggest factors to succeeding in any endeavor you embark upon in life.

Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (and a fellow Inc.com columnist) states that "emotional intelligence comprises your social and personal competence." Think of your personal competence as self-awareness which leads to self-management of emotions. And your social competence is your social awareness which leads to the handling of your relationships and navigating social arenas and dynamics.

When it comes to becoming more emotionally intelligent, your sleep plays a pivotal role in your intelligence. Neglect your sleep and you'll be emotionally compromised.

How sleep wrecks your emotional intelligence

Sleep is the foundation for your wealth, relationships, and health. From a macro perspective, sleep deprivation is going to affect your cognitive abilities along with a multitude of other key functions within your brain.

In fact, a study kept 26 people awake for over 55 hours and recorded their emotional intelligence along with their thinking abilities through a series of tests. They took one test after a full nights rest and the other after the sleep deprivation took effect.

Comparing the two, it was no surprise to discover that the participants saw their emotional intelligence along with their other mental functions such as controlling impulses and behaviors decline.

Another study discovered that social awareness is affected by the negligence of sleep. Participants were presented to rate 70 pictures as threatening or friendly. Their brains were scanned along with their heart rate documented before the judging took place.

Once this group was in a sleep deprived state, the same process took place. The sleep deprived group couldn't distinguish between the friendly or threatening faces. In fact, the friendly faces were actually perceived as being more threatening by the participants.

Sleep your way to becoming more emotionally savvy

Whether you're building a business, attempting to climb up the ranks in your company, or just trying to lose a few pounds, your emotional intelligence is pulling the strings in the background. And the thing that controls your emotional intelligence is sleep.

When you're sleep deprived, there will be less activity going on in your prefrontal cortex (i.e. the area where decisions are made and emotions are expressed). When you're sleep deprived, your senses, perceptions, and judgments are off. Your environment is more threatening, you're quicker to snap about things, your waistline is likelier to expand through emotional eating, and your work performance is likelier to take a dip.

If you want to be a phenomenal leader, a great partner, and a healthier individual--start making sleep a non-negotiable activity.

Published on: Aug 21, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.