“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”Mahatma Gandhi
Scientists calculated, we spend about a third of our lives in those little slices of death. Although, a great wealth of studies were dedicated to this amazing way of time-spending, to be honest, scientists still don’t fully understand its nature and purpose.
Sleep is fascinating and frightening at the same time. You can adore or loathe it. But one thing is obvious – sleep is too important for our mental and physical health to cheat on it.
While we’re sleeping our brain cures damaged neurons, forms new pathways for learning and memory. Sleep is essential for cardiovascular health, metobolic processes, immune system, etc.
And not geting enough sleep chronically could have a long-lasting health consequences.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
Furthermore, sleep deprivation switch us off socially, state researchers from UC Berkeley (Eti Ben Simon, 2018). Specifically, poor sleep (quantity and quality) makes us feel lonelier, less socially attractive for collaboration, triggers strong social repulsion; the same effect as with social anxiety. Moreover, it was also shown social isolation is contagious – well-rested people felt lonely after just a brief meet with a poor-sleep person.
Sleep-deprived participants showed heightened activity in the brain region which is usually activated when the brain detects potential human threats. Whilst, activity in brain regions that normally supports social engagement (known as Theory of mind) was reduced.
By nature we are social creatures – sociality plays a fundamental part in our wellbeing. Given the catastrophic sleep deprivation in modern society, these findings may shed new light on a global loneliness epidemic.
Thus, in order to maintain a healthy mental and physical functioning and thriving social life we just need to get sufficient every night sleep.