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The Connection Between Loneliness and Sleeplessness

The Connection Between Loneliness and Sleeplessness

By Experience Life

Feeling lonely can exact a devastating psychological toll, and a new study indicates that it may have negative physical consequences as well.

Recent research published in the journal SLEEP suggests that those who have one or more indicators of loneliness (as self-identified in a survey) are significantly more likely to suffer from fragmented sleep. This means they are regularly roused from deeper stages of sleep, but not necessarily fully awakened. Although that might not seem alarming in the short term, the potential long-term health effects could be considerable, says lead researcher Lianne Kurina, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.

“Having more fragmented sleep could put people at risk for downstream health outcomes, such as metabolism changes or even type 2 diabetes,” Kurina says.

While the reasons behind the findings aren’t completely clear, Kurina believes it might be linked to common characteristics found in people who feel lonely. “We know that during waking hours, lonely people are more attuned to threats and feel more vulnerable,” she says. “It’s possible that during the nighttime, this increased vigilance manifests itself as lots of micro-awakenings and more restless sleep.”

Making lifestyle adjustments that promote better-quality sleep can help (read “Getting to Sleep”), but, says Kurina, those suffering from loneliness-related sleep disturbance can get even better and more sustainable results from directly addressing their emotional state and its root causes.


7 Surprising Reasons You Wake Up Tired
Loneliness Harms Health: Why You Need Friends
Things to Avoid for a Good Night’s Sleep

Read more: Conditions, Diabetes, Health, Insomnia, Life, Mental Wellness, , , , ,

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Molly, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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2:05PM PST on Feb 21, 2014

Thank you.

6:34AM PST on Feb 7, 2013

Rubbish, I suppose. :-(

7:18AM PST on Feb 4, 2013

Thanks for ....

3:29AM PST on Feb 2, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

9:29PM PST on Feb 1, 2013


11:39AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

good to remember

6:04AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

Wow! Thanks!

4:49AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

Thanks for ...

4:19AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

I agree with this

12:50AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

I believe it wholeheartedly. Thanks Molly.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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