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Having a purpose in life linked to better sleep
July 16, 2017, 4:28 pm

Having a good reason to get out of bed in the morning means you are more likely to sleep better at night with less sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, reports a new study by researchers at Northwestern Medicine and Rush University Medical Center in the US.

Although the participants in the study were older — as individuals tend to have more sleep disturbances and insomnia as they get older — the researchers said their findings were just as applicable to the wider public. "Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia," said the team behind the study.

The researchers said that the next step in their research would be to study the use of mindfulness-based therapies to target purpose in life and resulting sleep quality.

The study showed that people 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, a global measure of sleep disturbance.

Poor sleep quality is related to having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and feeling sleepy during the day. Sleep apnea is a common disorder that increases with age in which a person has shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep several times per hour. This disruption often makes a person feel un-refreshed upon waking up and excessively sleepy during the day.

Restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Symptoms are often most severe at night when a person is resting, such as sitting or lying in bed.

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