People who are alone would be more likely to spend sleepless nights, American researchers say.

People who are alone would be more likely to spend sleepless nights, American researchers said in a study that suggests loneliness would not only cause unhappiness but also be bad for health.

In an article published in the journal Sleep, the team of Lianne Kurina, from the University of Chicago, studied loneliness and sleep patterns in a group of older residents who lived in two colonies of Hutterites in South Dakota.

The people of this religious group live in community, sharing their possessions and food. It is rare that they are socially isolated.

The author stated that the results were similar to those of a 2002 study of university students that compared feelings of loneliness with sleep quality. That investigation had revealed that the more students felt alone, the more irregularly they slept.

The researchers collected information about the feelings of loneliness, blood pressure and sleep of 95 residents of the communities of Hutterites.

To assess sleep, the volunteers used wrist bands that measured their activity and rest level during the nights.

Among residents, about half said they were not alone. But in the other half, the researchers noticed a trend between growing feelings of loneliness and social isolation and more irregularities in sleep.

“Basically, the loneliest individuals had a more choppy break. There were more movements during the night, more rest periods of short duration, and more restlessness, ”Kurina said.

The author indicated that her study does not prove that loneliness generates sleepless nights. Instead, he said, it would help explain why loneliness has been associated with poor health.

“This is evidence of a way in which feelings of loneliness would enter the body” and affect health, Kurina said.