Researchers from King’s College London in the United Kingdom have found that young adults who reported feeling lonely were more likely to experience poor sleep quality, daytime tiredness, and poor concentration than their non-lonely counterparts.
The findings were recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine.
Loneliness is common in the United States. According to a 2016 Harris Poll, of more than 2,000 people surveyed in the U.S., 72 percent reported feeling lonely at times, with almost a third reporting that they experienced loneliness at least once every week.
Although loneliness is often perceived as a problem that primarily affects older adults, recent research has suggested that this is not the case. A survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation in 2010, for example, found that loneliness is more common among adults aged 18 to 34 than those aged 55 or older.
However, according to the researchers of the new study, less is known about how loneliness affects the health of young adults – in particular, how it impacts sleep quality.
“In the present study, we tested associations between loneliness and sleep quality in a nationally representative sample of young adults,” say Prof. Louise Arseneault, of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s, and colleagues.
How loneliness affects the sleep quality of young adults
The researchers analyzed the data of 2,232 young adults aged 18 to 19 years, who were part of the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study.
The researchers asked the participants four questions to measure their feelings of loneliness, including, “How often do you feel that you lack companionship?” and “How often do you feel…