By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2012-08-04 01:12:07 -0500
Started 2012-07-29 01:12:51 -0500

We have had frequent discussions about how much sleep depravation affects those of us with Diabetes. I've read that people who experience sleep depravation are more likely to develop Diabetes, than those who sleep normally.

This article by Experienc Life brings a new question to the table. Is there a connection between Loneliness and sleeplessness? This is a short write up, but presents interesting possibilities.

Feeling lonely can exact a devastating psychological toll, and a new study indicates that it may have negative physical consequences as well.

Recent research published in the journal SLEEP suggests that those who have one or more indicators of loneliness (as self-identified in a survey) are significantly more likely to suffer from fragmented sleep. This means they are regularly roused from deeper stages of sleep, but not necessarily fully awakened. Although that might not seem alarming in the short term, the potential long-term health effects could be considerable, says lead researcher Lianne Kurina, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.

“Having more fragmented sleep could put people at risk for downstream health outcomes, such as metabolism changes or even type 2 diabetes,” Kurina says.

While the reasons behind the findings aren’t completely clear, Kurina believes it might be linked to common characteristics found in people who feel lonely. “We know that during waking hours, lonely people are more attuned to threats and feel more vulnerable,” she says. “It’s possible that during the nighttime, this increased vigilance manifests itself as lots of micro-awakenings and more restless sleep.”

Making lifestyle adjustments that promote better-quality sleep can help (read “Getting to Sleep”), but, says Kurina, those suffering from loneliness-related sleep disturbance can get even better and more sustainable results from directly addressing their emotional state and its root causes

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28 replies

locarbarbie 2012-07-30 13:59:55 -0500 Report

I normally get about 5.5 - 6 hours of sleep per night. I am always up at least once to tinkle. I know this is not enough sleep for me and when I am not working I will take a much needed nap. I am single but I don't know that lonliness plays any part…I agree with the fragmented sleep though.

Caroltoo 2012-07-30 14:08:13 -0500 Report

Loneliness and aloneness are different. I can feel lonely in a crowd, or be perfectly content and happy when alone. Loneliness is more about the state of mind we get into when we are convinced that we need someone else in our life to make it complete.

GabbyPA 2012-07-31 12:39:43 -0500 Report

That is so true about the difference. I never really thought about it. I am like you, perfectly content to be alone. I like it sometimes when people are just clamoring at me. I used to feel lonely, but not so much like I used to, but like you, in a crowd of strangers it is harder.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-07-31 12:36:50 -0500 Report

I totally agree with you. I can be lonely in a crowd and totally content alone. I also agree that loneliness is a state of mind. People in relationships can feel lonely at times. I also agree that there are people who feel they need someone in their lives to make them complete. I find many of these kinds of people will settle for any kind of person in their lives and end up with a lot of problems. You should be complete without having someone to do that for you.

Caroltoo 2012-07-31 15:53:48 -0500 Report

And … to take this a step further … relationships based on two incomplete people coming together and leaning on each other are not very healthy, usually called co-dependent. The best way to have a healthy relationship is to begin with two healthy and complete people whose likes/dislikes and abilities/deficits complement each other. These are folks who can help each other out when the need is there, but they don't have to be dependent on each other.

GabbyPA 2012-07-30 10:37:40 -0500 Report

I wish I knew this long before now. I am sure that the links between this and my weight and my diabetes and my aches and pains....shall I go on? On a good night, I get 4 hours straight. But I found that may not be a bad thing. However, getting only 4 hours a night is a bummer.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-07-31 12:48:02 -0500 Report

Gabby, I find that if you focus on all of your problems, when you go to bed your subconscious takes over and your mind doesn't rest. If your mind doesn't rest neither does the body. While in therapy I would go weeks at a time with very little sleep and working 8 hours didn't help. However, in learning to work out problems and relaxing at the end of the day helped a lot.

I have accepted the fact that my weight may never get to the point where I can wear a size 6 and am happy that I am down 3 dress sizes. I also know that I ache more in A/C or with a fan on me all night. However, I don't focus on this because I already no what is going to happen.

For years I worked 3-11 got off work and partied half the night. On nights when I didn't go out after work, I came home and did what people do who work 9-5. I ate something, watched tv or read a book then went to bed.

Gabby you are such a sweet caring person and it bothers me you have these problems. However, today take time to do something just for you.

GabbyPA 2012-07-31 12:55:55 -0500 Report

A lot of my mind concerns are far from anything I can share in this forum. Those are the things that sometimes rob sleep from me, but more often it is just the cycle my body seems to find.

To bed around 10:30, up around 3:30 (potty break), up around 5:00 to feed the dog and then finally up at 6:30 to let the chickens out. I am trying to get the dog and the chickens on the same schedule to help me out, but that is hard for the dog. She has been fed at 5:00 in the morning all her life.

Nick1962 2012-08-01 08:14:28 -0500 Report

Sounds to me like if you can't re-train the critters some automation is in order.
I worked on a farm with goats for a while and their pen had an autmatic "garage door" that let them out in the morning. They also learned that if they weren't in by closing time (6:00), they didn't get their 8:00 treat.

GabbyPA 2012-08-01 22:00:23 -0500 Report

LOL, that is great. My coupe is a rather manual thing, I don't know how I would modernize it. The chickens are patient with me and I have gotten the dog to move into the 5:30 range...sometimes. So I just go out and open things up and they will come out when the sun comes up. I just worry a little about other critters like cats in the area. They put themselves to bed though, I just have to go out to close up the gates. Funny critters.

Nick1962 2012-08-02 08:33:55 -0500 Report

Oh there's always a way to "tech" things up. Sleep deprivation is a great motivator for creativity. We could do a contest here "trick out Gabby's coupe".
We had barn cats that slept with the goats and were pretty protective of them. Couldn't figure out why they refused food until we found them eating the goat chow. You don't own critters, they own you!

jayabee52 2012-08-03 20:26:16 -0500 Report

Having been with Suzy for those weeks and not being there for a couple of days, I kinda even miss her ornery cat "Biunique".

He had kinda grown on me. Once I got back to LV I kept seeing the white top of my water bottle on the floor out of the corner of my eye and I thought it was "Biunique". That happened a couple of times.

Nick1962 2012-08-01 18:41:59 -0500 Report

A lazy farmer is an inventive farmer. The automatic door was actually parts from an old bank safe on a time lock. The bank was demolished and he salvaged the parts. He also had a 20 foot long work bench made out of a bowling alley. Best. Bench. Ever.

Caroltoo 2012-07-31 15:57:49 -0500 Report

Could you let the chickens out at 5A or at least open the cage so they could go out when they wake up?

GabbyPA 2012-08-01 22:01:40 -0500 Report

I do, but they are not protected once the gate is open. I worry about cats and stuff. But I tell you, it would take a plucky cat to take on my Brahma chickens. They are HUGE.

maripoza 2012-07-30 20:41:11 -0500 Report

i'm having the same problem that i can't get a good night sleep, if i get two or three at a time is good some time i take some sleeping peels.

Caroltoo 2012-07-30 13:54:49 -0500 Report

I think you make a very valid series of connections there. See my response to James for an observation on the 4 hour sleep cycles. It may not be as odd as you think.

jayabee52 2012-07-29 13:37:39 -0500 Report

I read the sentence “Having more fragmented sleep could put people at risk for downstream health outcomes, such as metabolism changes or even type 2 diabetes." with a bit of alarm, as right now my sleep is very fragmented. SuzyQ suffers from a condition which necessitates her getting up about 2 hrs after she sleeps and that goes on all night. Because she is limited in her mobility, I get up with her so that she can be safe.

I am wondering what else might go wrong with me due to this schedule of getting up in the night so frequently. I already have the Diabetes, and the Chronic Kidney disease. Oh well, it is gonna be what it's gonna be, I guess.

One thing, to be sure, I am not lonely.

Caroltoo 2012-07-30 13:53:28 -0500 Report

Glad you are no longer lonely! That is a big plus. Many of us come close to consciousness every 1.5 to 2 hours as we cycle out of REM sleep. I think the biggest problem is if you awaken before you have had a chance to REM. Prolonged absence of REM can even lead to psychotic states, yet another of the reasons why sleep apnea is such a serious health issue.

I've also read that a more natural sleep pattern is two four hour blocks separated by a couple hours. I find I fall into that pattern sometimes if I go to bed early. I always feel really blessed when I actually have 8 hours of consecutive sleep.

Re. Susy's sleep patterns: you probably want to be up with her, but she was able to manage this sleep pattern before you two met, so maybe you don't have to get up each time and could find some middle ground that gives you more sleep.

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