Strong family relationships improve sleep according to new study

A unique new study into the impact of loneliness on sleep has found that people who identify with their family experience better sleep quality.

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A sense of belonging with family can reduce feelings of loneliness and symptoms of depression

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University questioned almost 400 people on the extent to which they experienced a sense of identity and belonging with their family, more than 100 of which were questioned again one year later. The survey also measured their feelings of loneliness, symptoms of depression, and sleep quality/insomnia severity.

Findings revealed that, over time, high levels of family identification led to low levels of loneliness and depression, which in turn led to high levels of sleep quality and low levels of insomnia.

This is the first time a study has explored the relationship between social identification and sleep quality from the Social Cure perspective: a theory which highlights that the social groups to which we belong have important positive effects on our health and well-being, but only to the extent that we identify with them.

Senior lecturer in Psychology, Dr Juliet Wakefield, led the research with colleagues from the University’s School of Social Sciences. She said: “Depression and loneliness are increasing in Western nations, and both have been shown to cause poor sleep quality. We wanted to find out whether identifying with a significant social group, in this case family, would reduce loneliness, thereby reducing depression and improving sleep quality.

“The results have implications for how health professionals understand, prevent, and treat sleep problems. Rather than focusing entirely on individualistic predictors of sleep quality, such as caffeine consumption and smartphone use, professionals must appreciate the important role played by social group memberships in determining people's sleep quality.”

Read the full research paper online.

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students. NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

    NTU is also one of the UK’s most environmentally friendly universities, containing some of the sector’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.

    NTU is home to world-class research, and won The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 – the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage; enable safer production of powdered infant formula; and combat food fraud.

Strong family relationships improve sleep according to new study

Published on 13 November 2019
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Social Sciences

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