A new study has found that people who participate in religious activities are more likely to sleep better at night compared to people who are less religious.
The researchers analyzed previous studies on links between religious involvement and sleep-related outcome with participants of different age groups and religions.
The participants were asked about their religious involvement, such as their attendance in religious services and frequency of prayer.
The findings, published in the Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, found that participants with higher levels of religious involvement were more likely to have better sleep quality than less religious participants.
'This research is relatively unchartered territory that allows us to better understand the way in which religion and spirituality affect a person's health and overall quality of life,' said co-author Christopher Ellison of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Department of Sociology.
Based on the findings, Ellison says religious activities can help people sleep better by reducing stress and promoting social engagement. Additionally, places of worship can also offer psychological support and give a sense of meaning, hope and optimism.
The researchers concluded that people with greater assurance of spiritual salvation were less likely to have negative sleep consequences resulting from stress and chronic conditions.
Believing in spiritual salvation among religious people was linked to their reduced levels of psychological distress, Ellison suggested.
The study was co-authored by Terrence D Hill, associate professor of sociology at the University of Arizona, and Reed T Deangelis, a UTSA alumnus and a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The researchers are preparing to present the findings of the study at the Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR) meetings in Philadelphia in August, according to UTSA Today.