Purpose in life and incidence of sleep disturbances

Abstract

Purpose in life has been linked with better mental health, physical health, and health behaviors, but the association between purpose and sleep is understudied. Sleep disturbances increase with age and as the number of older adults rapidly increases, it is ever more important to identify modifiable factors that are associated with reduced incidence of sleep disturbances. We used multiple logistic regression models and data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of American adults over the age of 50, to examine whether higher purpose was linked with a reduced incidence of sleep disturbances. Among 4144 respondents reporting minimal or no sleep disturbances at baseline, higher purpose was associated with a lower incidence of sleep disturbances over the 4-year follow-up. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, each unit increase in purpose (on a six-point scale) was associated with a 16 % reduced odds of developing sleep disturbances (OR 0.84, 95 % CI 0.77–0.92). The association between purpose and sleep disturbances remained after adjusting for sociodemographic, behavioral, psychological, and health covariates. Should future research replicate our findings, this area of research may lead to innovative efforts that improve the quality of sleep in older adults.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Abbott, R., Ploubidis, G., Huppert, F., Kuh, D., Wadsworth, M., & Croudace, T. (2006). Psychometric evaluation and predictive validity of Ryff’s psychological well-being items in a UK birth cohort sample of women. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 4, 76.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2014). International classification of sleep disorders, third edition: Diagnostic and coding manual. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ancoli-Israel, S. (2009). Sleep and its disorders in aging populations. Sleep Medicine, 10, S7–S11.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Boyle, P. A., Buchman, A. S., Barnes, L. L., & Bennett, D. A. (2010). Effect of a purpose in life on risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and impairment in community dwelling older persons. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67, 304–310.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Burrow, A. L., & Hill, P. L. (2011). Purpose as a form of identity capital for positive youth adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1196–1206.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Cho, H. J., Lavretsky, H., Olmstead, R., Levin, M. J., Oxman, M. N., & Irwin, M. R. (2008). Sleep disturbance and depression recurrence in community-dwelling older adults: A prospective study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 1543–1550.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Dik, B. J., Zinta, S. B., & Steger, M. F. (2013). Purpose and meaning in the workplace. Washington D.C: American Psychological Association.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Foley, D., Ancoli-Israel, S., Britz, P., & Walsh, J. (2004). Sleep disturbances and chronic disease in older adults: Results of the 2003 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Survey. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 56, 497–502.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Ganguli, M., Reynolds, C., & Gilbert, J. (1996). Prevalence and persistence of sleep complaints in a rural older community sample: The MoVIES project. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 44, 778–784.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Hamilton, N. A., Nelson, C. A., Stevens, N., & Kitzman, H. (2007). Sleep and psychological well-being. Social Indicators Research, 82, 147–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Heintzelman, S. J., & King, L. A. (2014). Life is pretty meaningful. American Psychologist, 69, 561–574.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Hill, P. L., Burrow, A. L., & Sumner, R. (2013). Addressing important questions in the field of adolescent purpose. Child Development Perspectives, 7, 232–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Holahan, C., Holahan, C., Velasquez, K., Jung, S., North, R., & Pahl, S. (2011). Purposiveness and leisure-time physical activity in women in early midlife. Women and Health, 51, 661–675.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Holahan, C., & Suzuki, R. (2006). Motivational factors in health promoting behavior in later aging. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 30, 47–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Hooker, S. A., & Masters, K. S. (2014). Purpose in life is associated with physical activity measured by accelerometer. Journal of Health Psychology. doi:10.1177/1359105314542822.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Jaussent, I., Dauvilliers, Y., Ancelin, M., Dartigues, J. F., Tavernier, B., ... Besset, A. (2011). Insomnia symptoms in older adults: Associated factors and gender differences. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 19, 88–97.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Jenkins, C., Stanton, B., Niemcryk, S. J., & Rose, R. M. (1988). A scale for the estimation of sleep problems in clinical research. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 41, 313–321.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Kim, E. S., Kubzansky, L., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2013a). Purpose in life and reduced risk of myocardial infarction among older U.S. adults with coronary heart disease: A two-year follow-up. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 124–133.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Kim, E. S., Strecher, V. J., & Ryff, C. D. (2014). Purpose in life and use of preventive health care services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 16331–16336.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Kim, E. S., Sun, J. K., Park, N., Kubzansky, L., & Peterson, C. (2013b). Purpose in life and reduced incidence of stroke in older adults: The Health and Retirement Study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 74, 427–432.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Krause, N. (2009). Meaning in life and mortality. Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 64B, 517–527.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Lallukka, T., Dregan, A., & Armstrong, D. (2011a). Comparison of a sleep item from the General Health Questionnaire-12 with the Jenkins Sleep Questionnaire as measures of sleep disturbance. Journal of Epidemiology, 21, 474–480.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Lallukka, T., Haaramo, P., Lahelma, E., & Rahkonen, O. (2011b). Sleep problems and disability retirement: A register-based follow-up study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 173, 871–881.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Lallukka, T., Rahkonen, O., & Lahelma, E. (2011c). Workplace bullying and subsequent sleep problems: The Helsinki Health Study. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 37, 204–212.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (2002). Statistical analysis with missing data. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  26. McKnight, P. E., & Kashdan, T. B. (2009). Purpose in life as a system that creates and sustains health and well-being: An integrative, testable theory. Review of General Psychology, 13, 242–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. National Institute on Aging (n.d.). World population aging: Clocks illustrate growth in population growth under age 5 and over age 65. Retrieved September 8, 2014, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr/world-population-aging

  28. Phelan, C. H., Love, G. D., Ryff, C. D., Brown, R. L., & Heidrich, S. M. (2010). Psychosocial predictors of changing sleep patterns in aging women: A multiple pathway approach. Psychology and Aging, 25, 858–866.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Roepke, A. M., Jayawickreme, E., & Riffle, O. M. (2014). Meaning and health: A systematic review. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 9, 1055–1079.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Ruini, C., & Fava, G. A. (2012). Role of well-being therapy in achieving a balanced and individualized path to optimal functioning. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 19, 291–304.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Ryff, C. (2014). Psychological well-being revisited: Advances in the science and practice of eudaimonia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83, 10–28.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Ryff, C. D., Singer, B. H., & Love, G. D. (2004). Positive health: Connecting well-being with biology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 359, 1383–1394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Schaefer, S. M., Boylan, J. M., van Reekum, C. M., Lapate, R. C., Norris, C. J., Ryff, C. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2013). Purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli. PLoS One, 8, e80329.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Siegel, J. (2005). Clues to the functions of mammalian sleep. Nature, 437, 1264–1271.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Sivertsen, B., Salo, P., Mykletun, A., Hysing, M., Pallesen, S., Krokstad, S., & Overland, S. (2012). The bidirectional association between depression and insomnia: The HUNT Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 74, 758–765.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Sonnega, A., Faul, J., Ofstedal, M., Langa, K., Phillips, J., & Weir, D. (2014). Cohort profile: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS). International Journal of Epidemiology, 43, 576–585.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Steger, M. F. (2009). Meaning in life. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder Editor (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (679–687). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Steptoe, A., Odonnell, K., Marmot, M., & Wardle, J. (2008). Positive affect, psychological well-being, and good sleep. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 64, 409–415.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Taylor, D. J., Lichstein, K. L., Durrence, H. H., Reidel, B. W., & Bush, A. J. (2005). Epidemiology of insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Sleep, 28, 1457–1464.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Tsuno, N., Bessett, A., & Ritche, K. (2005). Sleep and depression. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66, 1254–1269.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. van der Spek, N., Vos, J., van Uden-Kraan, C., Breitbart, W., Cuijpers, P., Knipscheer-Kuipers, K., & Verdonck-de Leeuw, I. (2014). Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of meaning-centered group psychotherapy in cancer survivors: Protocol of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry, 14, 22.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Van Reekum, C. M., Urry, H. L., Johnstone, T., Thurow, M. E., Frye, C. J., Jackson, C. A., ... Davidson, R. J. (2007). Individual differences in amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity are associated with evaluation speed and psychological well-being. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 237–248.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Vincent, G., & Velkoff, V. (2010). The next four decades: The older population in the United States 2010 to 2050. Washington, D.C.: US Census Bureau.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Wells, J., & Bush, H. (2002). Purpose in life and breast health behavior in Hispanic and Anglo women. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 20, 232–249.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. The HRS (Health and Retirement Study) is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (Grant Number NIA U01AG009740) and is conducted by the University of Michigan.

Conflict of interest

Eric S. Kim, Shelley D. Hershner, and Victor J. Strecher declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eric S. Kim.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kim, E.S., Hershner, S.D. & Strecher, V.J. Purpose in life and incidence of sleep disturbances. J Behav Med 38, 590–597 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-015-9635-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Purpose in life
  • Meaning in life
  • Well-being
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disturbance