If you’re not convinced about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, perhaps this quote from a Harvard Medical School report might help: “Sleeping fewer than about eight hours per night on a regular basis seems to increase the risk of developing a number of medical conditions. And that reducing sleep by just two or three hours per night can have dramatic health consequences.”1
Just to add to that burden, a recent study has just shown that it might make you more selfish and less human.2
Although it doesn’t always seem that way, humans are designed to help each other.2 It’s what separates us from other species and responsible for the development and maintenance of modern civilisations2. (Note the prefix ‘civil’, capturing the two meanings – relating to ordinary citizens and being courteous and polite)
Could a lack of sleep interrupt this basic human trait and impair our motivation to help others? Apparently, yes.
One of the authors of the study had the following to say:
“This new work demonstrates that a lack of sleep not only damages the health of an individual, but degrades social interactions between individuals and, furthermore, degrades the very fabric of human society itself.
How we operate as a social species—and we are a social species—seems profoundly dependent on how much sleep we are getting.”3
The study looked at three different aspects of behaviour after sleep loss:2
All three aspects were impacted by lack of sleep. The researchers found the following:3
The study authors also concluded that a lack of sleep makes people less likely to engage with others, potentially compounding the problem of loneliness.3
Better sleep hygiene is a great starting point.
Good sleep hygiene is a term used to describe the habits that will help you sleep well, or at least help increase the chances of you getting a good night’s rest.
In summary, sleep isn’t just important for your health and wellbeing – humanity depends on it. Sleep well and help save civilisation!