How Your Sleep Reflects Your Personality | New Study

  • Researchers reveal personality features that predict the rhythm and nature of human sleep. 
  • Neuroticism and conscientiousness are found to be highly associated with sleep quality. 

Sleep is a crucial part of our daily lives. This naturally recurring process is responsible for emotional functioning, stable behavioral and physical health.

It’s important to tackle the mystery of who sleeps well. Most of the body parts [during sleep] remain in an anabolic state, helping to restore the skeletal, muscular, nervous and immune systems.

Recently, researchers at Iowa State University published a systematic report revealing the personality features that predict the rhythm and nature of human sleep. They have examined data from more than 380 people who participated in the first national survey of Midlife Development in the United States, conducted in 1995/95.

Human personality involves complex phenomena at multiple levels, from conscious life narratives to dispositional traits. At a basic level, it can be accurately defined by several traits, such as patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion that characterize the typical functioning of an individual.

Traits Related To Sleep Quality

In this study, researchers have tried to converge personality traits on an empirically supported structure focused on the Big Five personality domains.

  1. Extraversion
  2. Agreeableness
  3. Neuroticism
  4. Conscientiousness
  5. Openness to experience

The outcomes show that 2 of these 5 traits are highly associated with sleep quality: neuroticism and conscientiousness.

Reference: European Association of Personality Psychology | DOI:10.1002/per.2191 

More conscientious and less neurotic people are more likely to experience fewer interruptions during their sleep alongside better subjective quality. Whereas more neurotic people tend to have greater variability in sleep duration.

Regarding other traits, extraversion is related to somewhat better sleep, while openness and agreeableness show weak or inconsistent relations.

The study uncovers how an individual’s sleeping pattern is tied to his make-up. Generally, people who can better control their behavior and regulate unnecessary emotions seem to achieve healthier sleep more regularly.

Sleep Reflects Your Personality

Like other studies, it does have its limitations. Since the results are based on cross-sectional data, it’s quite hard to specify the direction of causality. Or in simple terms, it’s not clear whether sleep impacts personality or personality impacts sleep.

Read: Is It Possible To Learn Something New While You’re Sleep?

Researchers still don’t know how exactly sleep and personality intersect with each other. Further studies may find the answer by adding more real-life sleep samples and leveraging advanced sleep-monitoring technologies.

Written by
Varun Kumar

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