Study: Does Optimism Lead to Better Sleep?

Optimistic people tend to sleep better and longer, according to the findings of a study published in Behavioral Medicine.

Currently, limited studies have assessed whether optimism is associated with better sleep quality. The researchers of this study sought to test their hypothesis that greater optimism is associated with more favorable sleep quality and duration.

To conduct their testing, the researchers evaluated 3,548 adults aged 32-51 who had participated in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. They assessed optimism using the revised Life-Orientation Test while ascertaining self-reported measures of sleep quality and duration twice over five years. A subset of participants from the CARDIA study provided additional actigraphic data and subsequently completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). The researchers utilized multivariate regression analysis to appraise the correlations between optimism and sleep duration.

When You Feel Better, You Sleep Better

Following cross-sectional analyses, the results of the study revealed that each standard deviation (SD) higher optimism score resulted in 78% higher odds of self-reporting very good sleep quality. Moreover, a 1-SD higher optimism score was association with increased odds of reporting consistently good sleep quality across five-years juxtaposed to those with persistently poor sleep [OR=1.31; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.56]. Furthermore, after assessing supplementary data, the results showed that each SD higher optimism score was moderately associated with 22% greater odds of favorable sleep quality [OR=1.22; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.49] as measured by the PSQI, with possible intercession of depressive symptoms. The researchers discerned that optimism was unrelated to objective actigraphic sleep data and noted that “findings support a positive cross-sectional and prospective association between optimism and self-reported sleep behavior.”

“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,” said lead researcher Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois in a press release about the study.

“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 continued. “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.”

Hernandez added that “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.”

Source: Behavioral Medicine, Illinois News Bureau