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Description: Who do you predict would report sleeping better – someone who has a strong sense of purpose in their life or someone who is wandering around rather aimlessly?  If you picked the former, then your prediction is in line with the results of the study discussed in the article linked below. But even if you were right in your prediction there is a more important question you really should be able to (or wish you could) answer and that is — if there IS a relationship between sleep quality and life purpose why might that be? Think about how you might answer THAT question, or better yet, think about how you would research that question and then read the articled linked below.

Source: The Secret to a better night’s sleep: A sense of purpose? Daisy Grewal, Mental Health, Scientific American.

Date: October 18, 2017


Links:  Article Link —

The author of the article linked above clearly states that the research discussed does NOT speak to the question of the nature of the causal relationship, if any, between life purpose and sleep quality. Given that what would a study that addresses that causal connection possibility look like and, as I ask below, would such a study be ethical? Before giving up on the possibility though think about the note in the article suggesting that other research has shown positive relationships between life purpose and brain functioning, income, and risk of heart attack. The article’s author’s point is well taken, maybe causal uncertainty does not rule out potential clinical usefulness….. or should it??

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are life purpose and sleep quality related?
  2. If so how?
  3. What would a study that would shed light on the direction and degree of causal relationship between sleep quality and life purpose look like? Would it be ethical?

References (Read Further):

Turner, A. D., Smith, C. E., & Ong, J. C. (2017). Is purpose in life associated with less sleep disturbance in older adults?. Sleep Science and Practice, 1(1), 14.

Lewis, N. A., Turiano, N. A., Payne, B. R., & Hill, P. L. (2017). Purpose in life and cognitive functioning in adulthood. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 24(6), 662-671.

Kim, E. S., Sun, J. K., Park, N., Kubzansky, L. D., & Peterson, C. (2013). Purpose in life and reduced risk of myocardial infarction among older US adults with coronary heart disease: a two-year follow-up. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 36(2), 124-133.

Hill, P. L., Turiano, N. A., Mroczek, D. K., & Burrow, A. L. (2016). The value of a purposeful life: Sense of purpose predicts greater income and net worth. Journal of Research in Personality, 65, 38-42.