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Optimistic People Sleep Better And Longer

May 31, 2023 | Mental Health

Young and middle-aged adults who are optimistic tend to sleep longer and better than their more pessimistic counterparts, according to a study.

In the study, which was released in the journal Behavioral Medicine, more than 3,500 Americans between the ages of 32 and 51 participated. On a scale of 1 to 10, participants were asked to rate their optimism levels, after which they were asked to describe the quantity and quality of their sleep.

Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois and the study’s principal investigator, and her co-authors discovered that participants’ probability of reporting very good sleep quality increased by 78% for every standard deviation increase in their optimism score.

More optimistic people were more likely to report sleeping six to nine hours every night and were 74% more likely not to have any insomnia symptoms.

About one-third of American people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, don’t get enough sleep, which can raise their risk of contracting a variety of chronic conditions.

“The lack of healthy sleep is a public health concern, as poor sleep quality is associated with multiple health problems, including higher risks of obesity, hypertension, and all-cause mortality,” Hernandez stated in a press release. “Dispositional optimism—the belief that positive things will occur in the future—has emerged as a psychological asset of particular salience for disease-free survival and superior health.”

Researchers don’t entirely understand how optimism affects sleep, but they propose that it “buffers” the impacts of stress by encouraging adaptive coping, which then allows optimists to sleep peacefully.

Hernandez continues, “Optimists are more likely to engage in active problem-focused coping and to interpret stressful events in more positive ways, reducing worry and ruminative thoughts when they’re falling asleep and throughout their sleep cycle.”  Therefore, now is always the best time to adopt a positive life outlook.

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