Better Sleep Lowers Loneliness

Summary: Better sleep health significantly reduces feelings of loneliness, with the effect being stronger in younger adults. The findings suggest that improving sleep could be a key strategy in addressing loneliness, a pressing public health issue.

The study involved 2,297 adults who completed online questionnaires about their sleep and loneliness levels.

Key Facts:

  • Stronger Effect in Youth: Better sleep health more strongly reduces loneliness in younger adults.
  • Comprehensive Study: Involved 2,297 participants, with 51% being male and an average age of 44.
  • Public Health Crisis: Loneliness is recognized as a significant public health issue, exacerbated by poor sleep.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

A new study to be presented at the SLEEP 2024 annual meeting found that better sleep health was associated with lower levels of loneliness, and this association was stronger among younger adults.

Results indicate that better sleep health was associated with significantly lower total loneliness, emotional loneliness and social loneliness. While better sleep health was associated with lower total and emotional loneliness across ages, this association was stronger for younger adults.

However, age did not moderate the association between sleep health and social loneliness.

This shows a girl sleeping.
According to the authors, efforts and programs that aim to reduce loneliness should include an emphasis on promoting sleep health, especially in younger adults. Credit: Neuroscience News

“Loneliness is an urgent public health crisis, and there is a pressing need for providers to better understand and treat it,” said lead author and principal investigator Joseph Dzierzewski, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is vice president of research at the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“Our results highlight the important role that sleep plays in understanding loneliness across the adult lifespan. Perhaps efforts to improve sleep health could have a beneficial effect on loneliness, especially for young people.”

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep is essential to health. The AASM and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults should sleep seven hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health, productivity and daytime alertness.

The study involved 2,297 adults with a mean age of 44 years; 51% were male. Participants completed an online sleep health questionnaire and loneliness scale. The researchers analyzed the results using correlation and linear regression analyses along with moderation analyses.

In 2023 an advisory from the U.S. surgeon general warned about a public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection. It noted that even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness.

According to the authors, efforts and programs that aim to reduce loneliness should include an emphasis on promoting sleep health, especially in younger adults.

“Why younger adults might experience more sleep-related benefits to loneliness than older adults is unknown and intriguing — certainly worth further investigation,” Dzierzewski said.

About this sleep and loneliness research news

Author: Thomas Heffron
Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Contact: Thomas Heffron – American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: The findings will be presented at SLEEP 2024

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