It’s important to get enough sleep because lack of it is linked to so many health problems. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and motor accidents are all linked to insufficient sleep.
There are also consequences for mental health, with poor sleep increasing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability and reducing the ability to regulate emotions.
A new study shows that sleep influences the quality of human relations, because loss of good quality sleep is associated with a decreased desire to help others.
One fascinating example emerged from data on the donations given to a national charity between 2001 and 2016. Researchers found a reduction in giving in the week following the transition to daylight saving time, when people were adjusting to the loss of an hour’s sleep. This was not the case in states that do not observe daylight saving time.
As ever, further research is needed to establish a firm link between sleep quality and prosocial behaviours. But, as Dr Eti Ben Simon, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the study, told Medical News Today, “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.”
To learn more about how sleep loss may affect social cognition and a willingness to help others, jump to “Sleep loss makes people less likely to help others, study finds.”
Also, in the headlines this week were news of a link between artificial sweeteners and gut health, new neurological insight into why some people cannot tolerate the sound of others eating, and a look at which plant-based alternatives to dairy milk may be best for your dietary needs.
We also investigate why plant-based foods are not always better for your health in our latest Honest Nutrition feature. You’ll find all of these plus a selection of the week’s most popular stories below.
- A Medical News Today report