If you’re like me, you get a jolt of energy from socializing, and hanging out with large groups of friends. Because we’re extroverts. But if we’re too social, those activities might make us more susceptible to sleep deprivation. Seriously—that’s the finding of a study in the journal SLEEP. [Tracy Rupp, William Killgore and Thomas Balkin, "Socializing by Day May Affect Performance by Night: Vulnerability to Sleep Deprivation is Differentially Mediated by Social Exposure in Extraverts vs Introverts"]
Scientists from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research recruited 48 adults, age 18 to 39. They were tested to see if they were introverts or extroverts. They all got a good night’s sleep. Half then spent 12 hours in group activities, from 10 A.M. ’til 10 P.M. The other half conducted similar activities, but did so alone.
Then both groups were subjected to 22 straight hours of sleep deprivation. They were tested hourly for either wakefulness or motor skills. During the period of forced sleep deprivation, extroverts who’d been keyed up by being social had slower reactions than extroverts who’d been alone.
The researchers say this understanding is important for shift workers and people on military assignments. And here’s a practical application for us extroverts. If you’re at a party ‘til 4 A.M., even if you’re sober, maybe it’s best to have an alert introvert drive you home.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast]