Adding 46 minutes of sleep measurably increased positive feelings of flourishing, resilience, and gratitude. 


Summary: A new study presented at SLEEP 2024 found that healthy sleep positively impacts gratitude, resilience, and flourishing in adults. The study showed that earlier bedtimes extending sleep by an average of 46 minutes per night improved subjective sleepiness, mood disturbances, and measures of flourishing, resilience, and gratitude. Conversely, later bedtimes reducing sleep by 37 minutes worsened these outcomes. Participants with extended sleep wrote twice as much on their gratitude lists. The study involved 90 adults monitored by actigraphy over a workweek and highlighted the benefits of increasing sleep.

Key Takeaways:

  • Extending sleep by 46 minutes per night significantly improved gratitude, resilience, and flourishing, while reducing sleep worsened these attributes.
  • Participants with extended sleep wrote twice as much on their gratitude lists compared to those with restricted sleep.
  • The study experimentally demonstrated that increasing sleep can enhance positive life aspects like purpose, hope, and gratitude.

A new study found that healthy sleep has a positive impact on gratitude, resilience, and flourishing in adults.

Results, presented at the SLEEP 2024 annual meeting, show that subjective sleepiness and mood disturbances improved with earlier bedtimes that extended sleep by an average of 46 minutes per night—and worsened with later bedtimes that reduced nightly sleep by an average of 37 minutes.

Measures of flourishing, resilience, and gratitude significantly improved across the week with sleep extension and significantly worsened with sleep restriction. Sleep-extended participants also wrote twice as much on their gratitude list as the other participants in the study.

“Polling data indicates that happiness has declined in the US in recent years, and during the same time period, sleep problems have been widespread,” says principal investigator Michael Scullin, PhD, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in a release. “While it’s recognized that sleep loss worsens mental health symptoms, there have not been experimental studies to test whether increasing sleep improves the positive aspects of life like feelings of purpose, hope, and gratitude.”

Study Design

The study involved 90 adults who were randomly assigned to late bedtimes, early bedtimes, or to sleep normally across a single workweek and were monitored by actigraphy. The primary outcomes were changes in state and trait feelings of flourishing, resilience, and gratitude, as well as behavioral expressions of gratitude.

Scullin notes that experimentally increasing sleep improved these positive attributes. “Subtly increasing sleep increased people’s gratitude, resilience, and feelings of flourishing in life,” Scullin says in a release.

This study was supported by an Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement grant from Baylor University, along with grants from the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation. 

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