As people grow older, sleep becomes a problem for many. A new study sheds light on why that may be.
The research found that seniors who believe they have a purpose in life sleep better, HealthDay News reports.
Those who have good reasons to get up every day are less apt to have problems, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, which keep them awake at night, the new study found.
“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 Jason Ong, the study’s main author. He’s an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
The study included more than 800 people between the ages of 60 and 100 who did not have dementia. Those who said their lives had meaning were 63 percent less likely to have sleep apnea and 52 percent less likely to have restless leg syndrome.
Only an association was seen between having purpose and sleep quality. And while the study focused on older people, the researchers said the findings probably apply to others.
“Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies,” Ong said.
Ong added that clinicians prefer non-drug solutions to improve sleep. That practice is recommended by the American College of Physicians as a first-line treatment for insomnia.
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