Positive affect, psychological well-being, and good sleep

J Psychosom Res. 2008 Apr;64(4):409-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2007.11.008.


Objective: To discover whether positive affect and purpose in life (eudaimonic well-being) are associated with good sleep independently of health problems and socioeconomic status, and to evaluate their role in mediating the influence of psychosocial risk factors on poor sleep.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with 736 men and women aged 58-72 years, with positive affect assessed by aggregating ecological momentary samples. Sleep problems were assessed with the Jenkins Sleep Problems Scale, and psychosocial risk factors were measured by standardized questionnaires.

Results: Both positive affect and eudaimonic well-being were inversely associated with sleep problems after adjustment for age, gender, household income, and self-rated health (P<.001). Negative psychosocial factors including financial strain, social isolation, low emotional support, negative social interactions, and psychological distress were also related to reported sleep problems. The strength of these associations was reduced by 20-73% when positive affect and eudaimonic well-being were taken into account, suggesting that effects were partly mediated by positive psychological states.

Conclusions: These results suggest that both positive affect and eudaimonic well-being are directly associated with good sleep and may buffer the impact of psychosocial risk factors. The relationships are likely to be bidirectional, with disturbed sleep engendering lower positive affect and reduced psychological well-being, and positive psychological states promoting better sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Isolation
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / complications