UTSA Study Links Religious Commitment to Getting Better Night's Sleep


Having trouble sleeping?  You might want to start going to church.


Researchers at UTSA have discovered a solid link between religious practices, and a person's ability to get a good night's sleep.

Christopher Ellison of the UTSA Department of Sociology tells News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that people with 'higher levels of religious involvement' tend to have healthier sleep patterns.

He says in many ways, attending church helps people cops, and lessens their stress levels.

"Reduced psychological distress seems to be part of the explanation at least for why we find a connection between religion and sleep quality," he said

.Ellison says the research he did in conjunction with a UTSA grad who is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina 'is uncharted territory' when it comes to understanding the way that religion and spirituality affect a person's health and overall quality of life.

He says the key factor appears to be 'coping skills.'  He says people who are actively involved in religion, irregardless of the type or denomination of that religion, tend to have better developed coping skills.

He says people who are active in various religions also have a tendency not to engage in harmful activities which also can hurt a person's ability to get a good night's sleep.

"People who are more religiously active tend not to smoke as much, tend not to drink as much, on average."

But he says saying a prayer before bedtime won't replace that Ambien.  He says the correlation only exists for people who have a 'high commitment to faith in their lives.'

"There are some aspects of religious involvement that seems to be connected to better management of stressful conditions that do occur," he said.

This is actually the second study that Ellison has conducted which linked measures of religious involvement, including church attendance, regular prayer, and 'secure attachment to God' with sleep outcomes.

Photo: Getty Images

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