Not getting enough sleep makes people less likely to help others, study finds



Inadequate sleep is a common problem and is linked to an increased risk of physical and mental health problems.

A new study shows that sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality are associated with a decreased desire to help others.

The study also indicates that the potential loss of 1 hour of sleep due to daylight savings time is associated with a reduction in the amount of money donated to a national charity.

The findings underscore the importance of sleep hygiene in the maintenance of helping or prosocial behaviors in addition to physical and mental health.

More than 1 in 3Trusted Source individuals in the United States report less than the minimum recommended sleep duration of 7 hours of sleep per night.

Insufficient sleep is a pervasive problem associated with a number of negative health outcomes. Studies have found that insufficient sleep is associated with an increased risk of:

Moreover, inadequate or poor sleep can also adversely impact mental health, including an increase in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability, and a reduced ability to regulate emotions. Whether sleep quantity or quality can influence prosocial behaviors, which are behaviors that benefit others, has not yet been fully established.

New research published in the journal PLOS Biology reveals that lacking quality sleep may reduce the willingness of individuals to help others.

“It is time as a society to abandon the idea that sleep is unnecessary or a waste of time and, without feeling embarrassed, start getting the sleep that we need” Dr. Eti Ben Simon, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and co-author of the new study, told Medical News Today. “It is the best form of kindness we can offer ourselves, as well as the people around us.”

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How poor sleep impacts helping behaviors Prior research has linked poor sleep to deficits in emotional processing, which could potentially reduce prosocial behaviors.

Other studies have shown that inadequate sleep results in decreased activity in brain regions involved in empathyTrusted Source and prosocial behaviors like votingTrusted Source. This includes brain regions involved in social cognition, which is the ability to process social information and respond appropriately to social situations.

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