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Targeting loneliness may help you sleep better

Harold Mandel's picture
A lonely woman

Researchers say that there is an association between loneliness and poor sleep quality.


Good quality sleep is important for overall well being. Researchers have recently found there is an association between sleep which is of poor quality and loneliness in young adults.

Past studies have shown there is a lower risk of heart attack and stroke with good sleep. Poor sleep may also disrupt the balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria of gut microbiota. Negative metabolic health consequences including weight gain and insulin resistance may be exacerbated by this.

There is an association between loneliness in young adults and poor sleep quality

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King's College London reports there is an association between loneliness in young adults and poor sleep quality. This study involved greater than 2,000 young British adults. It was found that there was a 24 per cent greater likelihood of feeling tired and having problems concentrating during the day among lonelier people.

The researchers have defined loneliness as being a distressing feeling which people have when they perceive their social relationships as not being adequate. Loneliness is often seen in young people. In fact it has been reported by the Mental Health Foundation that loneliness is most frequently seen between the ages of 18-34.

There is a possibility lonely people do not feel as safe

One proposed explanation for sleep which is restless in lonely people is the possibility that they do not feel as safe. To check this idea out the researchers investigated the impact of previous exposure to violence, including sexual abuse, child maltreatment, violent abuse by family members or peers and crime. There was almost a 70 per cent stronger association between loneliness and poor sleep quality in those people who were exposed to the most severe types of violence.

The journal Psychological Medicine reports it is common for young adults to feel lonely. This has been hypothesized to undermine quality of sleep in young adults. Previous exposure to violence exacerbated the association between loneliness and poor sleep quality.

It is important to work aggressively to implement early interventions to lessen the long-term consequences of loneliness. There should be special consideration for individuals who have had the experience of victimization. Humane natural counseling to help lonely people cope with their situation should have a great deal to offer.