Looking on the bright side has plenty of benefits, from reducing stress to increasing happiness. But according to recent studies, optimism has another clear perk: it can help you sleep better. Optimistic people log more hours of quality sleep time than pessimists—and they’re less likely to experience daytime sleepiness, too.
Optimism may be a state of mind, but Susan D’Addario, certified sleep science coach, tells Tatler it affects the body, too: Positivity releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin—three essential ingredients to quality sleep. What’s more, serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, a hormone more colloquially known as the “sleep hormone,” as it encourages a state of sleepiness in most people.
Plus, in today’s world, worry and fear can often drive insomnia, says Annie Miller, LISCW, a psychotherapist and behavioural sleep medicine provider. Optimists may experience less worry, which could help quiet their minds at night and allow them a more restful sleep, she explains.
But if you’re prone to pessimism, you don’t have to resign yourself to restless nights. You can take steps to increase your optimism and catch more quality Z’s, starting as soon as tonight.
Work exercise into your regular routine
Working out can work up optimism. Just 20 minutes a day of light cardio—think: a brisk walk on a treadmill, or a jog around your neighbourhood—can reduce cortisol, which can cause stress, says D’Addario, and increase serotonin and dopamine, which can help you get quality sleep. To see the best results, D’Addario recommends exercising for 20 minutes at least five times a week.