Having purpose in life leaves you with better sleep quality


Northwestern Medicine and Rush University Medical Center say that good reason to get out of the bed in the morning will make you sleep better at night. They concluded this based on study on older adults.


Previous research showed sleep can be improved (measured at a single point in time) by having purpose in life. This research just confirmed it and showed that having purpose affects long term sleep and results in less sleep disturbance .


This claim is the result of a study that is based on older adults, but researchers say that this is probably same for everyone.


“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,” said Jason Ong, a senior author and associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies.”


This paper was published on July 9th in the journal Sleep Science and Practice.


More sleep disturbance and more insomnia occur as people get older.


Nowadays clinicians primarily use interventions without drugs for improving patients’ sleep. This practice is recommended by the American College of Physicians the treatment for insomnia, said Ong.


Arlener Turner, the first author of the study and a former postdoctoral fellow in neurology at Feinber says the use of mindfulness-based therapies to find the purpose and improving sleep quality are the next steps.


There was 823 participants, non-demented individuals 60 to 100 years old, average age being 79. They were from two groups at Rush University Medical Center. 77 percent were female and more than half were African American. People who felt they have purpose in life had fairly better sleep quality. They were 52 percent less likely to have restless leg syndrome and 63 percent less likely to have sleep apnea.


Survey was done, where participants were asked to answer 10 questions on life’s purpose and a 32 questions on sleep. For the first survey, regarding purpose they had to rate their answer to statements as, “I feel good when I think of what I’ve done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.”


Poor sleep quality is related to experiencing difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and feeling tired amid the day.


Sleep apnea is a disorder that increases with age. When having sleep apnea person has shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep. Apnea can often cause person to feel unrested even after sleeping and sleepy during the day. Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes a strong urge to move one’s legs. There is often an unpleasant feeling in the legs that improves somewhat with moving them. Due to the disturbance in sleep, people with RLS may have daytime sleepiness, low energy, and a depressed mood.