A recent study at the University of Chicago by assistant professor of epidemiology, department of health studies, Lianne Kurina, PhD, found that loneliness can hamper sleep. This study compared 95 adults on a perceived loneliness scale. Those who scored highest were found to also score more likely to experience restless or disrupted sleep than those who did not score themselves as lonely. In the past, loneliness has been associated with several physical ailments including: heart disease, high blood presure, cognitive decline and depression. This new study may indicate that the link between loneliness and these physical problems is the poor and disrupted sleep the person experiences.
If you are experiencing restless or disrupted sleep examine your own experience to see if you are lonely. If you feel that loneliness may be contributing to your poor sleep, it's time to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to other people. Volunteering is a great way to get to know other people. Make sure to choose a volunteer activity that will allow you to get to know others - working at the hospital gift shop or a food pantry will allow you to get to know more people than cleaning litter boxes in an animal shelter or picking up litter on a woodland trail. All of those are fine volunteer opportunities. But if you are lonely, choose an activity that places you with a chance to be with other people. Taking a class at a community college or local gym can be great ways to meet others with mutual interests. Or join a group that serves an interest you already have - a book club, a religious group, a hobby group. As loneliness abates, your sleep may improve.
Read other articles from this blog if you are still experiencing poor sleep. Remember hypotherapy can be a valuable tool for insomnia and poor sleep.