If you are worried that you are not getting a full night's sleep, waking up, tossing and turning, a new study shows you may by lonely.
The study conducted by scientists of the University of Chicago suggests that people who feel lonelier are more likely to have restless sleep.
Research was gathered from 95 participants, aged between 19 and 84 from South Dakota, where participants wore a wrist actigraph for one week to measure quality of subjective sleep and daytime sleepiness.
Each participant was questioned about loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress levels, but it was the lonely people who were most likely to toss and turn during their sleep. While researchers have warned that sacrificing sleep can greatly increase you risk of premature death by up to 50 percent, it was noted that lonely people's duration of sleep was not affected.
The research followed previous findings that lonely people were found to have more health problems, including heart disease in women, high blood pressure, and dementia, where sleep disruptions were shown to make symptoms worse.
Researchers are unsure how exactly lack of sleep harms health, but there is mounting evidence that it affected the endocrine system, which regulates hormone production and can also lead to impaired glucose tolerance and reduced insulin sensitivity, which can lead to diabetes, as well as high blood pressure.
Single people or people who lead an isolated life were not among those considered to feel lonely, but people who felt unconnected to their surroundings. People, who may sleep next to their partners and have a house full of family members, could still show qualities of loneliness.
The study published in Sleep journal concluded that "Humans' social nature may partly be manifest through our dependence on feeling secure in our social environment to sleep well."
So for those who wake up frequently during the night, learning to feel connected and secure could be the answer to a good night's sleep.
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