The proverbial loner may not be as healthy as he should be. People need social interaction and those who lack it can face a significant health risk. Being lonely is a depressing feeling and it can sometimes be compounded by other factors such as the lack of sleep.
A new study conducted at that University of California, Berkeley has found that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to engage with others. Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience says, “sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers,” “the less sleep you get, the less you want to socially interact.”
Sleep deprivation and loneliness become a vicious cycle and researchers believe that it is a significant contributing factor to the public-health crisis that is loneliness. Loneliness and sleep deprivation have both seen a dramatic increase in the last few decades.
To the average person, loneliness may seem like nothing much more than a depressing condition that can befall almost anyone from time to time. But it may be a much more serious condition than that. experts say loneliness is just as much of a health risk as being obese: An American Psychological Association study released in August concluded that lonely people are at a greater risk for premature death.
And loneliness is on the rise for all age groups including young people. In a recent survey of nearly 20,000 U.S. adults it was found that nearly half of people suffer from feelings of loneliness.
According to the experts, loneliness is not just a social issue but also a health issue. Loneliness can bring about a lack of vitality and a disconnect between mind and body.
So, what’s to blame for the rise in loneliness? It’s a matter of pure speculation and people have widely varied opinions on the causes. Age and long hours at work have been suggested as probable causes. But one intriguing suggestion is that social media may be to blame. According to a 2017 study, people who spent the most time on social media had twice the odds of having greater perceived social isolation. Could social media be the cause? It’s just as good a reason as anything else.