Zoomer Report

Purpose and Better Sleep at Night

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One of the keys to a better night’s sleep is connected to our reasons for getting out of bed in the morning. According to study from Northwestern Medicine and Rush University Medical Center Having a purpose in life makes people more likely to sleep better at night with less sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

The study is based on more than 800 older people aged 60 to 100 years old with an average age of 79 – more than three quarters were female. None had dementia. Those who felt their lives had meaning were 63 percent less likely to have sleep apnea and 52 percent less likely to have restless leg syndrome. They also had moderately better sleep quality.

This is the first study to show that having purpose specifically results in fewer sleep disturbances over a long period of time. The researchers say helping people cultivate purpose could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for Zoomers, who have more insomnia and sleep disturbances. The researchers say it can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies and they believe that although the participants were older, the findings will likely apply to the broader public.

The paper is published in the journal Sleep Science and Practice.

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