Loneliness Significantly Linked to Sleep Fragmentation

But is not associated with sleep duration or subjective sleep quality or daytime sleepiness

TUESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Loneliness is significantly associated with sleep fragmentation, but not sleep duration or subjective sleep measures, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of SLEEP.

Lianne M. Kurina, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago, and colleagues investigated whether loneliness was associated with sleep fragmentation or sleep duration. A total of 95 individuals from a communal society, with a mean age of 39.8 years, were interviewed about loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress; and subjective sleep measures (sleep quality and daytime sleepiness) were assessed. Objective sleep properties, including sleep fragmentation and sleep duration, were measured using a wrist actigraph worn by the participants for one week.

The investigators found that, after controlling for age, gender, body mass index, risk of sleep apnea, and negative affect (comprising symptoms of depression and anxiety, and perceived stress), higher loneliness scores correlated with significantly higher levels of sleep fragmentation. There was no association of loneliness with sleep duration, or with either subjective sleep measure.

"Our study provides evidence that those individuals who perceive themselves as less connected to others have more fragmented sleep. Sleep could be a pathway through which perceived social isolation influences health," the authors write.

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