Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sleep for a More Satisfying Life

Are you satisfied with your life? If not, how’s your sleep? A new study shows there may be a connection.

Life satisfaction and sleep quality are known to be important factors in your overall health and well-being. But how are they related?

Does poor sleep cause you to be less satisfied with your life? Or does low satisfaction with your life lead to sleep problems?

The researchers sought to find an answer. Their study involved 18,631 same-sex twins in Finland.

They measured life satisfaction, sleep quality and other factors. Then they did a follow-up six years later and recorded the same measures.

What did they find? People who became dissatisfied with their life during the six years between study points were more likely to have had sleep problems. Fifty-nine percent of these newly dissatisfied people had reported at the beginning of the study that they sleep poorly.

The results also show that poor sleep predicted a consistent pattern of life dissatisfaction. But the reverse wasn’t true; life dissatisfaction did not consistently predict poor sleep.

Studying twins also provided a genetic look at the connection. The study shows that both sleep quality and life satisfaction have a strong genetic component; there was substantial heritability for both traits.

But the genetic influence is different; the genetic component shared by sleep quality and life satisfaction was relatively weak.

The study supports the idea that poor sleep may have direct effects on the brain, emotions and mood.

So how is the quality of your sleep? You can get a better idea by completing this brief sleep evaluation.

Get help for a sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center.

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