Don’t Worry, Sleep Happy

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Those who see the glass as half full, not half empty, tend to have a sunnier view of life. Now, researchers have found, they sleep better, too.

The multiyear study, led by Rosalba Hernandez, professor of social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignBanksy quote on rest, included more than 3,500 people ages 32 to 51 living in Birmingham, Alabama; Oakland, California; Chicago; and Minneapolis.

Results were published online July 24 in Behavioral Medicine.

Participants’ levels of optimism were measured using a 10-item survey, according to a university news release. They also reported on their sleep, twice in a five-year period, rating their overall sleep length and quality during the previous month.

The researchers found that with each standard deviation increase — the typical distance across data points — in participants’ optimism scores, participants had 78% higher odds of reporting very good sleep quality, the release said.

The scientists hypothesize that positivity might act as a buffer to stress and help optimists to rest well.

“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 the sleep cycle,” Hernandez said.

According to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three U.S. adults fails to get adequate sleep, escalating their risks of many chronic diseases.

“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 said. “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.”


3 Astounding Sleep Stats

  1. 28% of Americans wait more than three weeks to change their sheets.
  2. 9 million Americans take sleeping pills.
  3. Sleep-related workplace accidents in the United States cost $31 billion a year. — Nikola Djordjevic

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