Optimism and Self-Esteem Are Related to Sleep. Results from a Large Community-Based Sample



There is evidence that positive personality characteristics, such as optimism and self-esteem, are important for health. Less is known about possible determinants of positive personality characteristics.


To test the relationship of optimism and self-esteem with insomnia symptoms and sleep duration.


Sleep parameters, optimism, and self-esteem were assessed by self-report in a community-based sample of 1,805 adults aged between 30 and 84 years in the USA. Moderation of the relation between sleep and positive characteristics by gender and age as well as potential confounding of the association by depressive disorder was tested.


Individuals with insomnia symptoms scored lower on optimism and self-esteem largely independent of age and sex, controlling for symptoms of depression and sleep duration. Short sleep duration (<6 h) was related to lower optimism and self-esteem when compared to individuals sleeping 7–8 h, controlling depressive symptoms. Long sleep duration (>9 h) was also related to low optimism and self-esteem independent of age and sex.


Good and sufficient sleep is associated with positive personality characteristics. This relationship is independent of the association between poor sleep and depression.

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This research was supported by a grant from the MIDUS Pilot Grant Competition, National Institute on Aging, USA, to M. Allemand. The publication is based on data from the MIDUS Study, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development and the National Institute on Aging (P01-AG020166).

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Correspondence to Sakari Lemola.

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Lemola, S., Räikkönen, K., Gomez, V. et al. Optimism and Self-Esteem Are Related to Sleep. Results from a Large Community-Based Sample. Int.J. Behav. Med. 20, 567–571 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-012-9272-z

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  • Insomnia symptoms
  • Sleep duration
  • Optimism
  • Self-esteem
  • Major depression