Optimistic People Sleep Better, Longer

Illinois News Bureau – People who are the most optimistic tend to be better sleepers, a study of young and middle-aged adults found.

More than 3,500 people ages 32-51 were included in the study sample. The participants included people in Birmingham, Alabama; Oakland, California; Chicago; and Minneapolis.

The research was led by Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois.

“Results from this study revealed significant associations between optimism and various characteristics of self-reported sleep after adjusting for a wide array of variables, including socio-demographic characteristics, health conditions and depressive symptoms,” Hernandez said.

Participants’ levels of optimism were measured using a 10-item survey, which asked them to rate on a five-point scale how much they agreed with positive statements such as “I’m always optimistic about my future” and with negatively worded sentences such as “I hardly expect things to go my way.”

Scores on the survey ranged from six (least optimistic) to 30 (most optimistic).

Participants reported on their sleep twice, five years apart, rating their overall sleep quality and duration during the prior month.

The survey also assessed their symptoms of insomnia, difficulty falling asleep and the number of hours of actual sleep they obtained each night.

A subset of the participants was part of an ancillary sleep study based in Chicago and wore activity monitors for three consecutive days – including two weeknights and one weekend night. Participants wore the monitors on two occasions a year apart.

The monitors collected data on their sleep duration, percent of time asleep and restlessness while sleeping. Try This Tonight – 8 Known Tactics That Actually Beat Insomnia

Hernandez and her co-authors found that with each standard deviation increase – the typical distance across data points – in participants’ optimism score they had 78% higher odds of reporting very good sleep quality.

Likewise, individuals with greater levels of optimism were more likely to report that they got adequate sleep, slumbering six to nine hours nightly. And they were 74% more likely to have no symptoms of insomnia … Read more. 

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