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How Being Optimistic Can Improve Your Sleep

September 9, 2019 by

Being optimistic is being associated with a continuing amount of physical and mental health benefits, and one reason this may be true is because it is linked to promoting high-quality sleep. In one study of over 3,500 people, people who reported themselves as being the most optimistic benefitted from a higher quality of sleep than their more pessimistic counterparts.

Optimism may lead to better sleep because of its ability to buffer the negative impact of stress, which helps improves people’s coping skills. This means that optimists may be able to fall asleep despite the chaos in their lives because they don’t spend time lying in bed allowing their minds to race.

Instead, optimists look at the bright side of stressful situations and engage in more active problem-focused coping mechanisms when they’re trying to fall asleep and throughout the night.

Studies have shown that people who have better optimism scores are more likely to not experience insomnia, daytime tiredness, and are more likely to get a healthy amount of sleep. Because sleep has such a great impact on your overall health, optimism has emerged as a psychological asset for maintaining optimal health and living into old age without developing a chronic disease.

In return for getting better sleep, you may adapt some positive personality characteristics, such as optimism and high self-esteem. Further, studies have shown that people with lower optimism and self-esteem are more likely to get either less than six hours of sleep each night or over nine hours each night, both of which are harmful to one’s health.

The relationship between optimism and sleep has also been shown in children. One study found that children who slept for a healthy amount of time were not only more optimistic, they also had higher levels of self-esteem.

A study on college-aged students showed that there is a complex relationship among sleep, optimism, and happiness. People who reported themselves as being pessimistic were often more anxious and displayed more symptoms of stress, which negatively impacted their sleep. Poor sleep was then damaging to their mental outlook, however, people who described themselves as being a “morning person” countered some of these effects.

Other Benefits of Optimism

An optimistic attitude is a protective factor against heart disease because it reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is true regardless of factors such as a person’s age, weight, their socioeconomic status, and their smoking status. In fact, the most optimistic people have about a 50% reduced chance of experiencing an initial heart disease compared to their pessimistic peers.

Having a positive outlook is also related to having a longer life span, with higher levels of optimism linked with a lower risk of death from chronic disease, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease. Optimism is also linked to a healthier lipid profile, lower levels of inflammation, higher levels of antioxidants, healthier immune system, and healthier autonomic function.

Also, people who are suffering from diseases, such as renal failure and HIV, who have a positive mindset also have reduced death rates, which also suggests that happiness is a protective factor over your physical health.

You can learn to be optimistic

Part of your tendency to be optimistic may be due to genes, but you can also increase your optimism. One easy optimism exercise is to think of the things you’re looking forward to in the short-term future. When you do this on a regular basis it may reduce pessimism and emotional fatigue.

Mindfulness can also increase optimism. When you make it a point to live in the moment instead of worrying about the future or the past, you’re not letting distracting or negative thoughts go through your mind without getting stuck in their emotional impacts. When your mind starts to wander, simply bring it back to the present moment and your breath. Your mind like to judge, so you have to practice listening without making judgments.

You should address your sleep issues whether you believe you are optimistic or not. A lack of sleep is linked to several health issues, such as depression, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Why sleep issues should be addressed right away

If you have trouble sleeping for a sufficient number or hours per night or you wake up often throughout the night, you need to take steps to improve your sleep. If you think you’re a pessimist, make an effort to be more optimistic and pay close attention to your sleep hygiene by sleeping in total darkness and starting your morning with bright light to properly set your internal clock and your melatonin production.

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