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You might be less willing to help another person if you are deprived of quality sleep, according to a new study.
Through three different experiments, Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that a lack of sleep may affect how humans treat each other. The study, which was published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Biology, noted a selfish effect that altered behavior due to sleep deprivation.
On average, the CDC notes that adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, more than 30% of Americans report getting far less than the necessary sleep time.
The first experiment found that due to daylight savings, even a loss of an hour has a significant effect on a person’s behavior. Researchers discovered that charitable donations fell by 10% in states a week after the change took effect. However, in states that did not adjust their clocks, there was no decrease.
In the second experiment, researchers analyzed the neurological activity of participants who had eight hours of sleep before comparing their brain activity after they had no sleep at all. The areas of the brain that were affected the most dealt with an individual’s ability to show empathy to a fellow human.
Moreover, the final test conducted by the scientists observed the quality of sleep of more than 100 participants for 3-4 nights. In this study, researchers noticed that quality ultimately mattered more than the quantity of sleep in determining an individual’s selfishness. A questionnaire was reportedly completed by the participants to determine how long and how well they slept.
“Helping is a core, fundamental feature of humankind. This new research demonstrates that a lack of sleep degrades the very fabric of human society itself,” said the study’s co-author Matthew Walker in a statement to Forbes. “How we operate as a social species—and we are a social species—seems profoundly dependent on how much sleep we are getting.”