People who are optimistic tend to have a better night’s sleep, according to a study on sleep patterns published by the University of Illinois.
The university surveyed 3,500 people ages 32-51 from Birmingham, Alabama, Oakland, California, Chicago, and Minneapolis and measured their level of optimism with a 10-item questionnaire.
They were asked to rate on a five-point scale on how much they agreed with positive statements like, “I’m always optimistic about my future” and with negative statements like “I hardly expect things to go my way.”
The participants reported on their sleep just twice over the course of five years, and answered questions on difficulty falling asleep, bouts of insomnia, and the average number of hours they slept each night. Some wore activity monitors for three consecutive days to measure sleep duration, restlessness, and percent of time asleep.
Sleep quality increased by 78% with each data point increase in a participant’s optimism, and researchers said 74% from that data set were more likely to have zero symptoms of insomnia and have less daytime sleepiness.
“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 Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University who led the research.