Loneliness and insomnia are more closely connected than we may think. People who are isolated or have limited social lives may be prone to insomnia.
Social networks and the internet have created the perfect conditions for people to have fewer close contact with those around them.
In addition, when people move away or treat you unkindly, it can cause you to become entrenched in your own controlled but lonely space.
This predisposition to isolation can have many downsides, and one of the worst could be the difficulty of getting restful sleep.
Lonely people are 25% more likely to not sleep well
When a group of researchers from King’s College (UK) conducted a study on sleep habits, they expected to establish a link between insomnia and several different lifestyle factors. However, this isn’t what happened.
Their research studied factors like employment status, having or not having children, alcohol consumption, and even genetic background.
In the end, none of these had a direct relationship with trouble sleeping. However, one aspect did: a feeling of loneliness.
Indeed, people who felt alone were 25% more likely to suffer from this unpleasant sleep disorder.
More troubling, this study on insomnia was only conducted with young people ranging from 18 to 19 years old.
See also: 9 ways to relax before sleep
Victims and insomniaThe trend was even more pronounced among those who reported having suffered from abuse or violence during childhood.
Abuse, rape, and bullying all trigger isolation, which in turn affected the sleep of the sufferers.
All of this information invites us to reflect on the influence that trauma has on a person’s sleep quality and quantity. After all, being abused involves stress, confusion, anxiety, and psychological changes.
Furthermore, this wasn’t the only conclusive study on the subject.
The same trend occurs in adults
In 2011, another group of researchers conducted a similar study in rural South Dakota. At that time, they focused on 95 adults who said they felt “alone,” although they weren’t completely isolated.
Their study couldn’t find a specific link between loneliness and a lack of sleep.
However, most participants described a phenomenon known as fragmented sleep. In this, their rest was continuously interrupted.
Both studies came to similar conclusions: perceptions of loneliness generate insomnia, which is negative for human health.
Anthropological hypothesisOverall, researchers from the first study think that this relationship with insomnia is a human evolutionary response.
From this perspective, loneliness in the human psyche translates into insecurity and feelings of helplessness.
When we perceive that we are isolated, the brain is automatically prepared for prevention, struggle, and escape.
This could explain why people wake up constantly during the night.
In reality, there may be a mechanism of self-preservation that activates when you feel lonely.
This would be particularly important for people who are newly independent (young people) or those who have recently moved to a new place.
Visit this article: 3 unusual ways to fight insomnia
Learn to be independent
The results of both studies confirm the significance of learning to be independent as part of your development as a person.
Preparing from a young age can make it easier to endure changes during adulthood, and parents have a crucial role to play in all this.
How can you help young people become more independent?
Each parent will likely have their own method, but what’s important is that children and young adults are placed in controlled situations where they need to take care of themselves.
A sense of accomplishment could be another key in establishing stability for newly independent children.
Regular phone calls and emails can help stabilize them emotionally.
It’s also a good idea for parents to plan visits during the weekend. This way, they can contribute to their children’s emotional stability. This helps by renewing their confidence while reminding them that they’re not alone.
How to fight loneliness and insomniaStrangely, this age of communication may be one of the most solitary historical periods of humanity.
The things that bring people together socially need to be renewed, for our own physical and emotional well-being.
People who have been victims of abuse, those who have recently moved or been widowed, and the young and elderly are the most vulnerable to feelings of isolation.