The Telegraph: Sleep deprivation fuels loneliness because tired people are socially repellent

My biggest health problem is lack of sleep. I go to bed by 10pm most every night, get up around 5-6 am most every day, practice good sleep hygiene, I bought an air conditioner to keep my bedroom cool in summer, I use my CPAP most nights (at least for an hour or two until I get sick of it), I use the Fisher Wallace device when I first turn in, I use a mouth guard and a nasal expander to reduce my sleep apnea, I take a gram of magnesium about an hour before I turn in as a muscle relaxant, and yet most nights I struggle to sleep and most mornings I wake up tired. As a result of my fatigue, I lead a much more restricted life than I would like.

My father has great trouble with sleep but my brother and sister sleep soundly.

I agree with the sentiment that a good night’s sleep is the single easiest and most significant thing people can do for their health. Sometimes I will string together several good nights in a row. I can’t figure out why sometimes I sleep soundly but most nights I do not.

From the Daily Telegraph:

Sleep deprivation is fuelling the loneliness epidemic because overly-tired people are less sociable, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to engage with others, avoiding close contact in much the same way as people with social anxiety.

The study also showed tired people can pass on their feelings of social isolation to others, almost as if loneliness itself is contagious.

“We humans are a social species. Yet sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers,” said study senior author Matthew Walker, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, at UC Berkeley.

“The less sleep you get, the less you want to socially interact. In turn, other people perceive you as more socially repulsive, further increasing the grave social-isolation impact of sleep loss.

“That vicious cycle may be a significant contributing factor to the public health crisis that is loneliness.”

Steve Sailer writes:

…one of the most criminally understudied mental/physical wellbeing problems in the United States today is how the first semester away at college is often a disaster for freshmen, especially coeds. Tom Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons” documents this downward spiral in excruciating detail, but universities haven’t been all that enthusiastic about studying this problem on their doorstep. (I believe UCLA is currently conducting a big multiyear study).

One often overlooked contributor is sleep dysfunction.

An Underappreciated Key to College Success: Sleep

Many college-bound students start out with dreadful sleep habits that are likely to get worse once the rigorous demands of courses and competing social and athletic activities kick in.

By Jane E. Brody
Aug. 13, 2018

Unfortunately, most of the advice in the article is intended for people with their own bedrooms, which is not most freshmen.

Advice more specific to college freshmen:

– Unless you are an intense morning person, don’t sign up for an 8 am class.

– Experiment to find the best earplugs. When you find the best type for you, buy several dozen pairs — a year’s supply — all at once.

– Consider an eye mask so your roommate turning on the light doesn’t wake you.

– If you get an opportunity for a dorm room single without a roommate, take it.

– Practice your “sleep arithmetic” before you’ll need it. A freshman once said to me: “I finally figured it out. When I have a 9 am class, if I go to bed at midnight, I can get 8 hours of sleep and still have an hour in the morning to get to class!”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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