Over thousands of years, humans have learned to react in ways that are better for their society, including helping other people as that builds bonds and improves relationships. However, the brain ultimately makes the decision whether or not to help someone, and missing one hour of sleep seems to result in a person being less motivated to help others. The study indicated that a person’s brain functions differently, with less activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with socialization. When these areas are affected by external issues, such as a lesion or problems with the tissues, it can cause the person to act with less empathy towards others. This study is one of the first to show that lack of sleep and other nonphysical aspects could also affect how these parts of the brain function.
The team conducting the research were at University of California, Berkely, and they focused specifically on how sleep loss affects social behavior. They provided a self-reported altruism questionnaire along with brain imaging to determine if there could be a correlation between loss of sleep and loss of willingness to help.
Participants who received adequate sleep were first given the questionnaire, then their brain activity was monitored. Another group took the questionnaire and maintained a sleep diary. The researchers were simultaneously monitoring donations within the US prior to and after Daylight Savings Time when most people lost an hour of sleep. They found that 78% of participants showed a reduced desire to help people when they got less sleep.
To read more details about this potential phenomenon – and one more justification to ensure you get adequate sleep every night – you can read the full article at Just One Hour of Less Sleep Could Make People Decide against Helping Others.
*OConnell and Associates provides this article for informational purposes only.