Healthy Mind Healthy Sleeping Habits

5 Ways Quality Sleep Is the Simplest Ingredient for a Positive Life Outlook

Photo: Getty Images / JGI / Jamie Grill
Getting quality sleep is a prized goal of the masses for a number of reasons, including all of the health gains doing so stands to offer—like muscle recovery, improved focus, and memory gains to name just a few. But according to new research, those life-boosting effects might go further than many realize: According to the recently released Casper-Gallup State of Sleep in America 2022 Report, which surveyed more than 3,000 American adults, quality sleep is also correlated with a positive mindset. Essentially, this means that someone who sleeps well may also be likely to have a more positive outlook on life.

How do you know if you're clocking quality sleep? To be sure, it goes beyond just measuring the number of hours of sleep you get; it also has to do with how regularly you stick to your healthy sleeping habits, and whether you have sleep disturbances throughout the night. A helpful litmus test is that if you wake up feeling energized and refreshed, it’s likely that you clocked some quality sleep. And, again, given how sleep may affect mindset, working toward this is important.

"On average, people who sleep better are more likely to have a positive outlook on life." —sleep expert Michael Grandner, PhD

“Poor sleep quality can get in the way of optimal emotion regulation, stress reduction, and even managing and organizing our lives,” says Michael Grandner, PhD, Casper’s sleep advisor and director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona. “That is why, on average, people who sleep better are more likely to have a positive outlook on life,” he adds.

According to Dr. Grandner, healthy sleep also best allows someone’s brain to process the events of the day, which “can lead to improved mood, decreased stress, and improved productivity and mental organization.” Taking all that into consideration, it makes sense that getting good sleep can lead you to feel good about yourself and your life—keep reading for more specific details as to how.

5 ways that sleep affects a person's mindset

1. Good sleep is correlated with having positive mental and emotional health

According to the report, Americans are six times more likely to report getting high-quality sleep when they rate their mental and emotional health as "excellent" or "very good." To contextualize, 50 percent of folks who chose those categories report getting good sleep—and only 8 percent of people who rated their mental and emotional health as "fair" or "poor" reported getting quality sleep.

2. Getting good sleep may mean being in a good mood

The report found that 48 percent of those who cited experiencing "excellent" sleep the night before woke up in an “extremely positive” mood, compared to 5 percent among those who had only "fair" or "poor" sleep.

3. Better sleepers report higher life satisfaction

Of participants who reported experiencing "excellent" or "very good" sleep in the last month, 84 percent said they also enjoyed high life satisfaction. However, for those who rated their sleep as "fair" or "poor," only 44 percent reported high life satisfaction.

4. Sleep affects mindset by increasing optimism about the future

According to the report, “Americans who report better sleep over the past 30 days are significantly more likely than poor sleepers to have a positive outlook on where their lives will be five years from now.”

5. Better sleepers may be more engaged in their communities

The report found that "excellent" or "very good" sleepers are more likely to be actively and positively engaged in their community. This is evidenced by folks reporting higher levels of donating to charity (77 percent, compared to 67 percent for "poor" sleepers) and volunteering (42 percent for "excellent" or "good" sleepers and 33 percent for "poor" sleepers).

“Sleep is not just a biological process, but something that happens in the context of real life and has real consequences,” says Dr. Grandner.  With that in mind, if you think you’d rate yourself as a "fair" or "poor" sleeper, he says checking in with where sleep fits into your priorities might help you log more quality hours.

“We should see sleep as an investment in our health, mental well-being, and daytime performance,” says Dr. Grandner. “We should ask ourselves when we need to get to bed in order to be optimally able to meet the challenges of the day.”

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