Want to Sleep Better? Find Purpose in Life
Having a reason to get out of bed each morning helps older adults sleep better at night, according to a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Older people who feel their life has meaning, they found, experience fewer sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.
The study, which was published in Sleep Science and Practice, involved 823 participants who did not have dementia and whose average age was 79. Participants provided responses to a 10-question survey on life purpose, responding to statements like, “I feel good when I think of what I’ve done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.” They also answered a 32-question survey on sleep habits. Researchers discovered that those who felt their lives had meaning had moderately better sleep quality overall, and were 63 percent less likely to have sleep apnea and 52 percent less likely to have restless legs syndrome.
Incidence of insomnia and other sleep disorders increases with age, and according to the researchers, this study suggest mindfulness-based therapies that improve sense of purpose may help.