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People who pray frequently tend to sleep better, study finds


By Agencies

A new study has found that people who attend Church services and pray frequently tend to sleep better than their less religious counterparts.

Conducted by the University of Texas at San Antonio, and published in Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, data from a large, recent nationwide survey of U.S. adults shows that Church attendance and frequency of prayer are positively associated with overall sleep quality.

The study acknowledges that religion could “decrease psychological distress, substance abuse and stress exposure, which are all associated with sleep outcomes.”

“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,” Christopher Ellison from the UTSA Department of Sociology told the Christian Post.

According to UTSA, “Ellison believes the data suggests a person’s religious involvement benefits their mental health by reducing stress, promoting social engagement and support from fellow church members, providing psychological resources (hope, optimism, sense of meaning) and promoting healthier lifestyles (lower levels of substance abuse).”

There are many other benefits to attending church, as previous studies have shown.

For example, married couples who attend church services together are more likely to live longer, are less likely to be depressed, and less likely to get divorced, found a study, titled “Religion and Health: A Synthesis,” conducted by Tyler J. VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, in 2016.

Married couples who attend religious services are 30 to 50 percent less likely to get divorced than those who do not, the study asserted, adding that such couples are also nearly 30 percent less likely to be depressed and, over a 16-year follow-up period, were shown to have significantly lower risk of dying.

Another study, published in JAMA Psychiatry the same year, found that women who attend a church service once a week or more are five times less likely to commit suicide compared with those who never go to a religious gathering.

In the conclusion, the authors wrote: “Our results do not imply that health care providers should prescribe attendance at religious services. However, for patients who are already religious, service attendance might be encouraged as a form of meaningful social participation. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that psychiatrists and clinicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”

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