Bad sleep doesn’t just affect your health — it’s ruining your social life


Twice a year daylight savings jerks around our sleep schedule Losing or gaining an hour of sleep might not seem like a huge deal But the effects are profound on the Monday after daylight saving when we lose an hour of sleep There’s a 25% increase in heart attacks and when daylight saving ends and we gain an extra hour of sleep The opposite is true heart attacks drop by 21% So one hour of sleep can do a lot, but it doesn’t just affect your heart Scientists are starting to uncover the ways that losing sleep can hurt the relationships with people around us This is UC Berkeley’s Eti Ben Simon, she studies the effects of sleep on our daily lives So during my PhD I had to stay up with my participants in order for them to be sleep deprived I would sleep deprived myself and I feel like the papers should have been written about me because I could feel myself becoming emotional Anxious and my mood would fluctuate She noticed that her sleep deprived subjects tended to speak in a slow monotonous way. and their sentences became shorter with longer pauses in between Even physical features like the face seemed to change and become more droopy And so Eti recorded a group of these sleep-deprived individuals by asking them a set of questions on camera She then had another group watch these videos and give their thoughts about what they saw. Which was really fascinating for us It was just a one minute video They were watching Never could already pick up something that was changing about these in a sleep-deprived individual and someone they would not want to socialize but you can think of this as an Evolutionary trigger like if we’re around someone who seems sick we prefer to keep our distance to avoid illness and it isn’t just that people Don’t want to be around you if you’re sleep-deprived. You don’t want to be around other people in another experiment She had test subjects observe a person walking towards them Both after they had a good night of sleep and when they didn’t she asked them when the oncoming person was getting too close Following sleep deprivation. Our participants preferred that other people would keep greater distance from them Eti saw that the brain networks that regulated our personal space were far more active without sleep Normally our personal space is within arm’s reach but people who are sleep deprived have a much larger personal bubble and all this matters because being socially connected is Important for our health studies have shown that social isolation can cause anxiety which can lead to difficulties with sleep So this becomes a negative feedback loop where social isolation makes you sleep poorly Which then makes you less social which then makes your sleep even worse and the cycle repeats So, how can we break this negative cycle between social isolation and sleep? so our study actually shows that one night of sleep loss is enough to see these effects of social withdrawal and the good news is that After they had a good night of sleep. We see everything restored back to normal now There’s a few things we can do as individuals Like making sure we get eight hours of sleep tonight and having a consistent bedtime, although watch out for those sleep tracking apps Which can make you anxious and ironically cause you to lose more sleep But there are a lot of things we can’t control between school and our jobs We have rigid schedules that don’t work for everyone especially night owls So I think that the change has to come both from the people demanding the right for sleep not being embarrassed by the fact that they need eight hours of sleep and also from Policy makers and the governments and employers. So maybe that means not scheduling important meetings before 10:00 a.m so that everyone’s more awake or Rethinking how early school starts for kids and maybe that includes once and for all getting rid of the yearly ritual of daylight saving time Because obstacles to getting sleep are not just making us tired. We’re actually driving us apart So, what do you think are you getting eight hours of sleep every night? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check out our other video about Glow-in-the-dark jellyfish and how they led a revolution in medicine

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