Research by the University of California Berkeley shows that being sleep deprived has a negative impact not only that individual but others who come in contact with that person, reports The Cordova Times.
Sleep deprived individuals feel lonelier and less inclined to engage with others, while well-rested people feel lonely after just a brief encounter with sleep-deprived people, potentially triggering a viral contagion of social isolation, according to the study published on Aug. 14 in the journal Nature Communications.
“We humans are a social species,” said Matthew Walker, senior author of the study and a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience. “Yet sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers.”
The researchers found that brain scans of sleep-deprived people as they viewed video clips of strangers walking toward them showed powerful social repulsion activity in neural networks that are typically activated when humans feel their personal space is being invaded. Sleep loss also blunted activity in brain regions that normally encourage social engagement.