It is already commonplace to hear that human beings need a good night’s sleep and quality sleep. In addition to boosting our immune system and consolidating our nervous system, our body also releases hormones – which are essential for improving our mood and sociability – while we sleep. But did you know that when we give up a few hours of sleep at night, we can start behaving more selfishly?
Research published by the journal PLOS Biology last Tuesday (23) pointed out that people who have a reduced amount of sleep at night are more likely to be unwilling to help someone when they have a problem or need.
Two people who don’t want to help each other. (Photo: Playback/Pinterest)
With this in mind, researchers at the University of Berkeley, California, conducted three behavioral studies analyzing this “selfish” effect, induced by a few hours of sleep. At the end of these studies, Ben Simon, one of the leaders of the research, discovered that “one hour of lost sleep is more than enough to influence the choice to help someone else.”
In their first study, Ben Simon and his research colleagues analyzed a database containing statistics on 3 million charitable donations between the years 2001 and 2016. In the summer, when people lost an hour of sleep, the number collections for charities dropped. by 10%. This decrease was not noticed in US states that did not adhere to DST.
The second study was carried out with the participation of 24 healthy volunteers. The scientists did an MRI to scan the brains of these people after 8 hours of sleep. Shortly after, a second resonance was performed to scan the brains of these people, after an entire night without sleep. At the end of this experiment, they discovered that the brain regions responsible for the prosocial neural network, which is involved in making a person identify with someone and understand their needs, were less active after a sleepless night. .
In the third study, scientists mapped the sleep of 100 people for three to four nights. During this experiment, the quality of sleep of these volunteers was measured by the researchers through the number of hours spent in deep sleep and the frequency with which these people woke up during the night. According to Ben’s findings, the quality of sleep significantly affects a person’s empathy the next day.
Analyzing these scenarios, Ben concludes: “If ever, in an era of great individualism in which people live, there had to be a stimulus that awakens solidarity and benevolence in us, the act of sleeping becomes the smallest means for these people to demonstrate in society with empathy and generosity.”
With this study, Ben hopes that people will start paying attention to their sleeping hours so they can drain the flow of empathy that runs through our bodies while we rest.
Featured photo: Person experiencing the uncomfortable effects of a poor night’s sleep. Reproduction/GE.