A new study published in the Sleep Science and Practice Journal shows that having a reason to wake up for in the morning is linked to experiencing fewer sleep disturbances such as apnea or restless leg syndrome. Co-author Dr. Jason Ong from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine set out to study previous works that tackled the relationship between better sleep quality and having a purpose in life.
Having a Purpose in Life Linked to Fewer Sleep Disturbances
For the study, the researchers gathered data from 825 volunteers between 60 and 100, from white and African American backgrounds. The patients were asked to answer a questionnaire on the purpose in life and another on sleep. They were also asked to rate statements that referred to their future and their overall sleep quality. According to the results, those who felt they have a purpose in life were 63% less likely to experience sleep apnea and 52% were less likely to suffer from the restless leg syndrome.
Dr. Jason Ong stated:
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.
Sleep disturbances and insomnia become more frequent with age. Fortunately, non-drug interventions are now highly recommended by the clinicians. The disruptions of sleep caused by sleep apnea make the sufferer feel tired and sleepy during day time. Restless leg syndrome is another disruption that gives the sufferer the urge to move their legs, especially at night when the person is lying in bed.
The study is a step in focusing on non-invasive therapies to treat sleep disturbances in seniors. Ong states that mindfulness therapies are a great next step for ameliorating apnea and insomnia as a sense of purpose can be cultivated and enhanced. This is a cost-effective method to treat senior patients and increase their quality of sleep.
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