Atheists and agnostics are significantly more likely to be better sleepers than Catholics and Baptists.
A new study of sleep, religious affiliation, and perceptions of heaven found that 73% of atheists and agnostics reported getting seven or more hours of nightly sleep. The good night sleep which is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to promote optimal health. Atheists and agnostics also reported experiencing less difficulty falling asleep.
In contrast, only 63% of Catholics and 55% of Baptists reported sleeping the whole night.
“Mental health is increasingly discussed in church settings — as it should be — but sleep health is not discussed,” said lead author Kyla Fergason, a student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “Yet we know that sleep loss undercuts many human abilities that are considered to be core values of the church: being a positive member of a social community, expressing love and compassion rather than anger or judgment, and displaying integrity in moral reasoning and behavior. Could getting better sleep help some people grow in their faith or become better Christians? We don’t know the answer to that question yet, but we do know that mental, physical, and cognitive health is intertwined with sleep health in the general population.”
The study involved 1,501 participants in the Baylor Religion Survey, which includes questions religious bonding, and perceptions, including their sleeping behaviors.
Results also show that those participants who reported sleeping seven or more hours per night were significantly more likely to believe that they would get into heaven.
However, these perceptions of heaven were unrelated to difficulty falling asleep at night. According to the study’s authors, this pattern pointing out that better sleep leads to a more optimistic conception, such as the expectation of getting into heaven.
The research was published online edition of the journal Sleep