Some people love sleeping alone. Many folks prefer to have a warm body there in the dark with them, and there are those who could go either way, depending on whether the other person is a heavy snorer, sweats the bed, or kicks. But apparently there's a link between loneliness and sleep disruptions — meaning if you feel isolated and disconnected, you may not get a good night's sleep.
There's a CNN article about a new study published today in the journal Sleep. Lead researcher Lianne Kurina, Ph.D. ( an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Chicago) worked with a small group of 95 participants. These people were questioned about whether they felt isolated, a lack of companionship, etc. They also wore a thing on their wrist when they went to bed, and it recorded their sleep patterns.
Each one-point increase in the loneliness scale was associated with about an 8% increase in sleep disruptions and restlessness, the researchers found, even when they controlled for age, sex, body mass index, the breathing disorder known as sleep apnea, and negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
Loneliness did not appear to influence sleep quality or daytime sleepiness, however, which suggests that the sleep disruptions were minor.
It's important, I think to note that "feeling isolated" and being single are not the same. Those of us who are single and love to sprawl, and sleep very well when taking up an entire bed probably feel fairly connected or fulfilled in the companionship department. And do animals count? Maybe it helps if you're using a small dog as a hot water bottle. But since sleep can affect your blood pressure, your heart and even your weight, it's clearly vital to do something about restless nights. Then you can go all Britney and sing about how your loneliness ain't killing you no more.