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Feeling lonely? This may be caused by your lack of sleep

Feeling lonely? This may be caused by your lack of sleep

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, has revealed that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and are less inclined to engage with others. 

Feeling lonely? This may be caused by your lack of sleep

The researchers compared sleep-deprived versus well-rested individuals, and found that the brains of those lacking sufficient sleep exhibited heightened activity in areas that deal with perceived human threats and a shutdown of areas that encourage social interaction. But it’s not only the sleep-deprived person that’s affected, the researchers also found that sleep-deprived individuals are also more socially unattractive to others.

“The less sleep you get, the less you want to socially interact. In turn, other people perceive you as more socially repulsive, further increasing the grave social-isolation impact of sleep loss,” says study senior author Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience.

“That vicious cycle may be a significant contributing factor to the public health crisis that is loneliness,” Walker adds. Most people have experienced periods of sleep deprivation at some stage in their life, whether it’s attending to a baby, studying for exams or going through a challenging period. While there are many reasons for sleep deprivation, only some can be assisted.

Creating a restful sleep environment and developing healthy sleep habits can help in some cases. The Sleep Health Foundation offers various suggestion for improving sleep habits including:

  • Try to go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Have a relaxing sleep routine that may include reading, a warm bath or a warm milk drink.
  • Avoid caffeine for a least four hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid stimulating activities the hour before bed such as computer games, television and moderate exercise.
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