Insomnia is on the rise – and it’s ruining your social life


Sleep deprivation is not only bad for your health, it also makes you a toxic friend.

As a result of the pandemic, many Americans are suffering from insomnia at high rates – especially parents, whose busy schedules were already prone to bouts of sleepless nights.

“I now wake up hours before my kids to have a few hours of writing and work,” Courtney Boen, professor of sociology and demography at the University of Pennsylvania told Vox for a recent article on how COVID -19 transformed the United States into a “nation”. insomniacs.

“I know I am not alone,” she added.

While the pandemic has underscored the importance of sleep for many, it has also caused many to get fewer hours of sleep. Whether it’s due to a sudden lack of childcare or insomnia from the stress of fear of the novel coronavirus, several data points seem to reveal that the pandemic has been a particularly white time for already tired Americans.

These include the fact that sales of melatonin, a sleep supplement, climbed 42.6% in 2020. “This consumer behavior is a sign that people are struggling,” said the clinical psychologist. Jennifer Martin at Vox – and that in April and May, Google in the US searches for the word “insomnia” has increased significantly, according to a study.

It is common knowledge that not getting enough sleep is not good for the human body or mind, but many are unaware of how much it can damage their relationships, which can already be strained by two years. lock.

Not getting enough sleep makes humans much more antisocial, a team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley found in 2018. While the correlation may seem relatively obvious, scientists have found it to be surprisingly direct.

“The less you sleep, the less you want to interact socially,” said Matthew Walker, lead author of the study and professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley, in a press release at the time. “In turn, other people perceive you as more socially repugnant, further increasing the severe social isolation impact of sleep loss.”

According to Walker, the repercussions of people’s lack of sleep go beyond the simple sabotage of individual friendships: he and his team have found that lack of sleep may fuel the current epidemic of loneliness.

“This vicious cycle can be a major contributing factor to the public health crisis of loneliness,” he said.

For their 2018 study, Walker and his team measured how well 18 healthy young adults allowed strangers to approach them based on the quality of their sleep the night before.

Scientists found that sleep-deprived patients kept an approaching person a significantly greater distance – between 18 and 60 percent further – than when they were well rested.

“It may not be a coincidence that the last few decades have seen a marked increase in loneliness and an equally dramatic decrease in sleep duration,” said lead author of the study, Eti Ben Simon. . “Without enough sleep, we become a social barrier and loneliness sets in quickly.”

The good news is, it doesn’t take much to avoid the social drawbacks of sleep deprivation.

“On a positive note, a single night of good sleep makes you feel more outgoing and more socially confident, and additionally, will attract others to you,” Walker said.

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