Adding 46 minutes of sleep can measurably increase the ‘positives of life’

New study reveals how adding 46 minutes of sleep can measurably increase ‘positives of life’.

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People who are grateful, resilient, and fortunate in life exhibit improved health, including improved sleep. This correlational result is commonly explained by personality traits or the idea that having a cheerful perspective enhances sleep quality.

Researchers looked at the reverse causal interpretation of sleep gains and losses: how do they impact expressions and feelings of resilience, gratefulness, and flourishing? Their findings will be presented at SLEEP 2024.

They discovered that getting enough sleep benefits people’s resilience, thankfulness, and flourishing.

The findings indicate that mood disorders and subjective sleepiness worsened with later bedtimes, which decreased nightly sleep by an average of 37 minutes and improved with earlier bedtimes, which increased sleep duration by an average of 46 minutes per night.

With sleep extension, measures of thriving, resilience, and gratitude considerably improved over the week; with sleep restriction, measures significantly deteriorated. Participants who slept longer than usual wrote twice as much on their thankfulness list as the other research participants.

In this study, ninety adults were tracked using actigraphy and randomly assigned to sleep usually, late, or early for a single workweek. The main results were changes in the state and trait feelings of resilience, gratitude, and flourishing, as well as behavioral expressions of gratitude.

The health effects of sleep deprivation are widely known. To support optimal health, productivity, and alertness during the day, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society advises adults to get seven hours of sleep per night on a regular basis.

Experimentally increasing sleep enhanced positive traits that are fundamental to well-being and among the foundations of prosocial activities.

Principal investigator Michael Scullin, who has a doctorate in psychology and is an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, “Experimentally increasing sleep improved these positive attributes, which are at the core of well-being and among the underpinnings of prosocial behaviors.”

“Polling data indicates that happiness has declined in the U.S. in recent years, and during the same period, sleep problems have been widespread. While it’s recognized that sleep loss worsens mental health symptoms, there have not been experimental studies to test whether increasing sleep improves the positive aspects of life like feelings of purpose, hope, and gratitude.”

“Subtly increasing sleep increased people’s gratitude, resilience, and feelings of flourishing in life.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Do, Sarah Schnitker, Michael Scullin. 0184 Gratitude, Flourishing, and Prosocial Behaviors Following Experimental Sleep Restriction and Sleep Extension. Sleep. DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsae067.0184

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