New study finds optimistic people sleep better and longer.

A new study published in the journal Behavioral Medicine concluded that young and middle aged adults who are most optimistic tend to be better sleepers. Over 3,500 subjects age 32 to 51 from 4 major cities in the USA were included in the sample. In the study optimism was measured using a 10-item survey which asked them to rate on a 5 point scale how much they agreed with positive statements such as “I’m always optimistic about my future” and included negatively worded sentences such as “I hardly expect things to go my way.” Scores on the survey questionaire ranged from six (least optimistic) to 30 (most optimistic). Subjects completed the survey two times  five years apart. Questions included overall sleep quality and duration during the past month, symptoms of insomnia, difficulty falling asleep,and the number of hours of actual sleep they obtained. A subset of the study  wore activity monitors for three consecutive nights including two week nights and one weekend night. The monitors were worn two time one year apart.

Researchers reported “Results from the study revealed a significant associations between optimism and various characteristics of self reported sleep  after adjusting for a wide range of variables, including socio-demographic characteristics, health conditions and depressive symptoms.”  They found that with each standard deviation increase regarding optimism scores there was a 78% higher odds of reporting very good sleep quality. In addition, those who had greater levels of optimism were more likely to report they got adequate sleep usually six to nine hours nightly and were also 74% more likely to report no symptoms of insomnia and to report less daytime sleepiness. A 2016 study found that about 1/3 of adults in the USA fail to get adequate sleep increasing their risk of chronic illnesses. Researchers stated “The lack of healthy sleep is a public health concern, as poor sleep quality is associated with multiple problems, including higher risks of obesity, hypertension and all cause mortality.” “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.” These findings bolster previous findings of the researchers in which they found optimists ages 45 to 84 were twice as likely to have ideal heart health than those will least optimism.

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