Are you a glass half full person or a glass half empty person? While being optimistic or being pessimistic has a lot to do with one's personality, we're sure you wouldn't have associated it to one's sleep cycle too. But a new study has now found that optimistic people tend to sleep better than pessimistic people do. Around 3,500 people aged 32-51, ranging from areas like Birmingham, Alabama; Oakland, California; Chicago; and Minneapolis were included in the study.
"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 who led the research. These participants were then given a questionnaire that featured certain positive and negative statements and the participants were asked to tick the ones they related to the most. The scores ranged from 6 which was least optimistic to 30 which was most optimistic.
"The lack of healthy sleep is a public health concern, as poor sleep quality is associated with multiple health problems, including higher risks of obesity, hypertension and all-cause mortality," Hernandez said. "Dispositional optimism -- the belief that positive things will occur in the future -- has emerged as a psychological asset of particular salience for disease-free survival and superior health."
For the study, a subset of the participants was asked to wear activity monitors for three consecutive days which included two weeknights and one weekend night. Participants wore these monitors on two occasions one year apart. The monitors helped measure their sleep duration, percent of time spent sleeping and restlessness while sleeping.
As per the results, participants who reported being optimistic also reported that they got adequate sleep, slumbering six to nine hours nightly. These were also people who were least likely to suffer from insomnia and were less sleepy during the daytime. "Optimists are more likely to engage in active problem-focused coping and to interpret stressful events in more positive ways, reducing worry and ruminative thoughts when they're falling asleep and throughout their sleep cycle," Hernandez said.
Hernandez and her co-authors had also conducted a study previously which had found that optimistic people aged 45-84 were almost twice as likely to have ideal heart health as compared to generally pessimistic people. So, not only is being optimistic good for sleep, but it can also work better for overall health.