How a sense of purpose helps you sleep well: Study finds those who feel their lives have meaning are less likely to suffer insomnia

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

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

Although researchers looked at older adults, who generally sleep less than younger ones, they believe the findings should 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.’

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

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

They were also 52 per cent less likely to have restless leg syndrome.

Their overall general sleep quality was also shown to be higher.

The next step in the research should be to investigate whether improving perceived purpose in life through mindfulness therapy can lead to better sleep, said the scientists, whose findings are reported in the journal Sleep Science and Practice.

 

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