Faith Could Be the Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep

Study shows belief in God can reduce stress, resulting in restful sleep.

A study released by the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion asserts that a good sleep can be had if one has strong faith. Terrence D. Hill, an associate professor of the University of Arizona School of Sociology, said those people who believe in salvation and believe they have an unshakeable relationship with God usually sleep longer and fall asleep much faster. They also feel more restful in the morning. Hill himself has co-authored a study on a similar subject named Sleep Quality and the Stress-Buffering Role of Religious Involvement: A Mediated Moderation Analysis.

Reed T. Deangelis, the co-author of the study, agrees. He says the results make perfect “intuitive sense.” The sociology graduate student of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said individuals who believe in God are secure in his power and are sure of going to heaven after they die. Christopher G. Ellison, the sociology professor of the University of Texas at San Antonio is the lead author of the study.

According to Hill, he was not surprised with the results. He said if anyone believes in any higher power, and that the power is looking out for that person, then the troubles one is going through at the present time can only be temporary. Such beliefs, he explained, could assist the devout to enjoy less stress. It also reduces sadness and provides a certain sense of hope. All these makes for a sound, restful sleep.

The research, as per the three authors of the study, clearly showed that religion by an indirect manner could promote sleep by protecting the individual from a number of other risk factors, including stress. This is corroborated by National Sleep Foundation. The latter said people could not sleep if they are extremely stressed and unable to switch off their minds. These individuals instead continuously replay their worries or frustration – this results in muscle tension. An increase of heart rate results in physical tension too. Religion can assist those with such stresses by bringing together individuals sharing common beliefs on regular basis. Such activities create solidarity and makes a sense of purpose shared by all. As per the study, members of any church tend to help each other and engage in positive coping practices. The cumulative effect is that regular churchgoers may enjoy much less agitation during negative life events.

Resources
  • Religion News Service
  • Academia
  • Follow the Conversation on Twitter