Sleepless and alone: How does sleep loss affect our social life?

Colloquium | October 10 | 12:10-1:15 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Eti Ben Simon, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Human Sleep Science

 Institute of Personality and Social Research

Loneliness is a growing public health epidemic, reliably increasing mortality and morbidity risks in socially isolated individuals. A potential factor linking loneliness to poor health is disturbed sleep. Both lonely individuals as well as socially isolated animals suffer from worse sleep quality compared to socially connected controls. Focusing on the importance of sleep in modulating social behavior, our recent series of studies demonstrate that: 1) Lack of sleep as well as poor sleep quality lead to a neural and behavioral phenotype of social separation and loneliness in healthy individuals. 2) Other members of society can perceive this lonely phenotype and will refrain from socially interacting with a sleep- deprived individual. 3) Other members of society reciprocally feel lonelier themselves following an interaction with a sleep-deprived individual. Together, these data support a model in which sleep loss creates a propagating, self-reinforcing cycle of social separation and withdrawal.

Eti’s work explores the social and affective consequences of sleep loss using behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques. She received her PhD in neuroscience from Tel Aviv University and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Sleep Science in UC Berkeley, directed by prof. Matthew Walker., 510-642-5050