Not getting a good night’s rest doesn’t just leave you groggy or cranky the next day, it could keep you from lending a helping hand, too. Insufficient sleep affects how willing we are to help others, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley.
Researchers did three studies looking at this “selfish” effect and found that just a small loss of sleep can make a difference. Even an hour less of sleep can make someone more selfish and affect decision making related to helping others, the study finds. Lead study authors Eti Ben Simon, a research scientist, and Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley and director of the university’s Center for Human Sleep Science, say the finding was “most surprising.”
“Even just an hour of sleep loss was more than enough to influence the choice to help another,” says Ben Simon. “When people lose one hour of sleep, there's a clear hit on our innate human kindness and our motivation to help other people in need.” The researchers hope their findings will encourage people to prioritize getting a full night of good sleep, both quality and quantity.