If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you might be less willing to help other people. In a new study published in the journal PLOS Biology, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley performed a series of experiments on the effects of sleep on prosocial behavior. The participants completed questionnaires assessing their willingness to help others in everyday situations, such as giving directions. After a night of being sleep deprived, they showed less desire to help others than they did after a night of good rest. Then the researchers used functional MRIs to determine the effect of lost sleep on the brain regions involved in generous behaviors. They observed that sleep deprivation was associated with reduced activity in those brain regions involved in social cognition and social tasks – namely the desire to help other people.
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