The Association of Optimism with Sleep Duration and Quality: Findings from the Coronary Artery Risk and Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

Rosalba Hernandez*, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Kiarri N. Kershaw, Julia K. Boehm, Laura D. Kubzansky, Mercedes Carnethon, Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald, Kristen L. Knutson, Laura A. Colangelo, Kiang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Optimism is associated with better health outcomes with hypothesized effects due in part to optimism’s association with restorative health processes. Limited work has examined whether optimism is associated with better quality sleep, a major restorative process. We test the hypothesis that greater optimism is associated with more favorable sleep quality and duration. Main analyses included adults aged 32–51 who participated in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study (n = 3,548) during the fifth (Year 15: 2000–2001) and sixth (Year 20: 2005–2006) follow-up visits. Optimism was assessed using the revised Life-Orientation Test. Self-report measures of sleep quality and duration were obtained twice 5 years apart. A subset of CARDIA participants (2003–2005) additionally provided actigraphic data and completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Multivariate regression analyses were used to examine associations of optimism and sleep indicators. In cross-sectional analyses of 3548 participants, each standard deviation (SD) higher optimism score resulted in 78% higher odds of self-reporting very good sleep quality. Prospectively, a 1-SD higher optimism score was related to higher odds of reporting persistently good sleep quality across 5-years relative to those with persistently poor sleep [OR = 1.31; 95%CI:1.10,1.56]. In participant with supplementary data, each SD higher optimism score was marginally associated with 22% greater odds of favorable sleep quality [OR = 1.22; 95%CI:1.00,1.49] as measured by the PSQI, with possible mediation by depressive symptoms. Optimism was unrelated to objective actigraphic sleep data. Findings support a positive cross-sectional and prospective association between optimism and self-reported sleep behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Positive affect
  • insomnia
  • optimism
  • psychological well-being
  • sleep disruptions
  • sleep quality and duration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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