Optimistic people sleep better, longer, study finds

Optimistic people sleep better.
A happy woman smiling in her sleep
Does an optimistic attitude result in a good night’s sleep?

I’m sure many insomniacs will agree that they’re not the most optimistic of people. Whether it’s cause or effect, lack of sleep and a negative state of mind are often intertwined.

A new study

A new study from the University of Illinois backs this up, and suggests that optimistic people really do sleep better.

More than 3,500 people ages 32-51 were included in the study sample. The participants included people in Birmingham, Alabama; Oakland, California; Chicago; and Minneapolis.

The research was led by Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois.

“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,” Hernandez said.

Participants’ levels of optimism were measured using a 10-item survey, which asked them to rate on a five-point scale how much they agreed with positive statements such as “I’m always optimistic about my future” and with negatively worded sentences such as “I hardly expect things to go my way.”

Scores on the survey ranged from six (least optimistic) to 30 (most optimistic).

Participants reported on their sleep twice, five years apart, rating their overall sleep quality and duration during the prior month. The survey also assessed their symptoms of insomnia, difficulty falling asleep and the number of hours of actual sleep they obtained each night.


Those behind the study suggest caution when interpreting the results however. The scientists aren’t sure of the mechanism that connects optimism and sleeplessness, just that there is one.

What does that mean?

For my money, and I’m no scientist, just an insomniac. It’s stressing about things that keep pessimists and stressed out people awake, but it can be a vicious cycle.

That’s why I use sleep podcasts and the like to stop me from stressing out, to help me sleep better, and why I started my podcast. To help others with a similar problem.

Image by đôn chu viết from Pixabay

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