New York, June 14: Finding it hard to get a proper night sleep? A higher religious involvement can reduce stress levels and lead to healthier sleep outcomes, say researchers.
The findings showed that persons with a greater sense of assurance of spiritual salvation tend to enjoy better sleep quality and tend to have fewer negative sleep consequences due to stressful life events and chronic conditions.
It is because higher religious involvement — religious attendance, prayer and secure attachment to God — benefits mental health by reducing stress, promoting social engagement and support from fellow members.
It also provides psychological resources — hope, optimism, sense of meaning — and promotes healthier lifestyles — lower levels of substance abuse, the researchers explained.
“This research is relatively unchartered territory that allows us to better understand the way in which religion and spirituality affect a person’s health and overall quality of life,” said Christopher Ellison in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
Ellison said much of the benefit of perceived spiritual salvation among the faithful is because these persons have lower levels of psychological distress, i.e., feelings of depressed affect and anxiety.
For the study, published in the journal Sleep Health, the team reviewed several large studies of religious involvement and sleep-related outcomes that included people from different age groups and religions.
Religion could decrease psychological distress, substance abuse and stress exposure, which are all associated with sleep outcomes, Ellison said.