Is it teething time for your little one?

 

If you suffer from insomnia or have a hard time winding down every night, the results of this study may interest you.

 

Researchers from the Northwestern University of Chicago found that those who had a sense of purpose and felt their life had meaning were able to sleep better at night.

 

823 participants aged between 60 and 100 years old answered two surveys, one where they rated 10 statements on how they felt about their purpose in life and a further 32 questions about their sleeping habits.

 

Those who rated their life as meaningful and had a sense of purpose enjoyed a better quality of sleep and were less likely to suffer from sleep apnoea, a sleep disorder which interferes with breathing during sleep.

 

 

Those who felt their lives had purpose were also less likely to have restless leg syndrome which can interfere with sleep.

 

Older people were specially chosen to participate in this study as sleep quality tends to decrease with age. The average age of a participant was 79. However, even though this study focused primarily on an older age group, researchers say the findings are relevant to the general public.

 

Researchers believe that these findings could reduce reliance on sleeping pills in favour of mindfulness techniques which can promote a feeling of purpose in life.

 

Lead author of the study and associate professor of neurology Jason Ong said: "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".

 

He added: "Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies."

 

 

Researchers say they now aim to investigate the efficacy of mindfulness therapies on sleep quality and finding a sense of purpose in life.

 

In other interesting sleep-related news, researchers have found that a weekend lie-in could be quite beneficial to your health, particularly your waistline and brain.

 

A study published in the journal Sleep found that those who missed out on sleep during the week but made up for it at the weekend had lower BMI’s than those who didn’t have a weekend lie-in.

 

43 percent reported sleeping longer on weekends by approximately two hours. This group had an average BMI of 22.8. Those who did not lie in had an average BMI of 23.1, a small but statistically significant difference.

 

Weekend lie-ins were also found to have a positive effect on the brain's ability to process and retrieve information.

 

So, it appears leading a meaningful life and the odd weekend lie-in could do us the world of good!

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