Lack of sleep unhealthy for your social life: Study

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The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta, posted: Sun, August 26, 2018 | 02:02 pm

A study at the University of California Berkeley suggests that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to interact with people, which in turn exerts some sort of uncharismatic appeal that makes them appear to be socially less attractive.(Shutterstock/File)

Getting a good night’s sleep is just as essential as a healthy diet and regular exercise when working toward the best version of ourselves. However, The Independent reported a new study claims a normal sleep pattern is “fundamental” for maintaining strong interpersonal relationships.

A study at the University of California Berkeley suggests that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to interact with people, which in turn exerts some sort of uncharismatic appeal that makes them appear to be socially less attractive.

When doing research, Matthew Walker and his team conducted three separate controlled experiments using fMRI brain imaging, surveys, videotaped simulations and standardized loneliness measures.

In the first experiment, they analyzed 18 healthy young-adult brains who had both sleepless and well-rested nights. Then, the young adults would watch video clips of strangers approaching them and  decide when they think the stranger got too close. 

After careful examination, the team found that sleep-deprived individuals experienced a strong social repulsion activity in the brain, as if their personal space was being invaded or as if they were put in a threatening situation.

Read also: Sleeping with lights on or off: Which is healthier?

Afterward, in the second experiment, the researchers found that the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that controls social behavior) was poorly developed in those who were lacking a sufficient amount of sleep.

Finally, the last study required the participation of more than 1,000 people from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace watching clips of sleep-deprived and non-sleep-deprived volunteers conversing about commonplace activities. Upon observation, the group was told to rate how lonely each of them appeared, unaware that some had suffered lack of sleep. As a result, the sleep-deprived people were ranked as lonelier and less socially desirable by the observers.

"We humans are a social species. Yet sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers," Walker said. "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."

He also added that this abnormal sleeping pattern can eventually turn into a “vicious cycle” and worsen the feelings of loneliness, which is a cycle that has increasingly affected modern society.

Walker continued with a positive note that getting the necessary seven to nine hours of sleep every night would make you feel socially more confident and would attract others to you. (saz/kes)

TOPIC

sleep health social-life