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How Poor Sleep Affects Your Social Life


How Poor Sleep Affects Your Social Life

For some, late nights and benders are (at least in youth) a hallmark of a banging social life. But a new study has shown how poor sleep can affect your social life – and not in a good way.
The University of California and Berkeley study found poor sleepers tend to avoid making eye contact with people, just like people with social anxiety.
And they may even impact the wellbeing of well-rested people they come into contact with – which could negatively affect one’s social life.

How does sleeplessness make us antisocial?

“We humans are a social species. Yet sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers,” said Matthew Walker from Berkeley University.
“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.
“That vicious cycle may be a significant contributing factor to the public health crisis that is loneliness.
What’s interesting is other studies that show we are being more lonely and isolated. In fact, one study found 5% of adults feel lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’ – with younger people experiencing the most loneliness.
This particular study looked at MRIs, surveys and simulations to see how young adults socialised after both a good night’s sleep and a poor one.

Why is sleep so important?

Walker notes that “There’s no biological or social safety net for sleep deprivation as there is for, say, starvation. That’s why our physical and mental health implodes so quickly even after the loss of just one or two hours of sleep.”
So if you find yourself struggling to maintain relationships – or wanting to hide away from the world – be sure to look at your sleep patterns. Are you getting enough?
You might also like to speak with a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist, who can support you with tools and tactics for tackling loneliness.  

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