Never underestimate the power of positivity, y’all!

By Meghan Overdeep
August 8, 2019
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Put another one in the win column for positive thinking!

A study of young and middle-aged adults found that optimistic people tend to sleep better and longer than their more pessimistic peers.

More than 3,500 Americans aged 32 to 51 took park in the study, which was published in the journal Behavioral Medicine. Participants were asked to rate their levels of optimism on a scale of 1-10 and then report on their sleep quality and duration.

Lead researcher Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois, and her co-authors found that with each standard deviation increase in participants’ optimism score, they had 78 percent higher odds of reporting very good sleep quality.

Individuals with greater levels of optimism were more likely to report getting six to nine hours of sleep nightly and were 74 percent more likely to have no symptoms of insomnia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three U.S. adults fails to get adequate sleep, which can increase their risk of developing many chronic diseases.

“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 in a news release. “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.”

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Scientists aren’t sure exactly how optimism influences sleep, but their hypothesis is that positivity “buffers” the effects of stress by promoting adaptive coping, thereby enabling optimists to rest peacefully.

“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 explained.

Sounds like now's a good a time as ever to adopt a glass-half-full approach! 

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