Restless sleeper? You could be feeling lonely

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2011, 19:47 PM IST

Washington: A new study has suggested that feelings of loneliness could compromise a good night’s sleep, potentially affecting our health.

“It’s not just a product of very lonely individuals having poor sleep. The relationship between loneliness and restless sleep appears to operate across the range of perceived connectedness,” said lead author Lianne Kurina, PhD, of the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.

Kurina and her co-authors compared the degree of loneliness reported by a close-knit population of 95 adults in rural South Dakota with measurements of their sleep cycles.

Higher loneliness scores were linked to significantly higher levels of fragmented sleep.

But the total amount of sleep and the degree of daytime sleepiness were not impacted.

“Loneliness has been associated with adverse effects on health. We wanted to explore one potential pathway for this, the theory that sleep – a key behaviour to staying healthy – could be compromised by feelings of loneliness,” Kurina said.

“What we found was that loneliness does not appear to change the total amount of sleep in individuals, but awakens them more times during the night,” she stated.

ANI