Science

Turns out, having purpose in life could help you to sleep better

Researchers say people who felt their lives had meaning were 63% less likely to experience sleep apnoea.

Having a good reason to get out of bed in the morning can help you sleep better at night, research has shown.

The study found that people who feel their lives have a purpose are less likely to suffer insomnia and sleep disturbances over a long period.

Although the researchers looked at older adults, who generally sleep less than younger individuals, they believe the findings are likely to apply to the broader public.

Lead scientist Dr Jason Ong, from Northwestern University in the US, said: “Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia.

Disney GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies.”

The 823 study participants, who had an average age of 79, answered a series of questions on purpose of life and sleep.

For the purpose in life survey, they were asked to rate their response to statements such as: “I feel good when I think of what I’ve done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.”

People who felt their lives had meaning were 63% less likely to experience sleep apnoea, a breathing problem that leads to repeated waking up in the night.

Sleep GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

They were also 52% less likely to have restless leg syndrome, a sleep-disrupting irresistible urge to move the legs.

In addition, their overall general sleep quality was shown to be moderately higher.

The scientists say the next step in the research should be to investigate whether improving perceived purpose in life through mindfulness therapy can lead to better sleep.

The findings are reported in the journal Sleep Science and Practice.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Become a subscriber and get full access

Science

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: