Washington: A new research now finds another reason why sleep, mood and stress are important. According to researchers, they affect the extent to which older adults feel they have control over their lives.
Researchers say the findings can help efforts to improve an individual’s sense of control, which has ramifications for physical, mental and emotional health.
The paper, ‘Predicting Control Beliefs in Older Adults: A Micro-longitudinal Study,’ was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences on Tuesday.
Speaking about the study, Shevaun Neupert, co-author of the study said, “We found that sleep, mood and stress are all important factors in determining a sense of control and in whether older adults feel they can do the things they want to do.”
“This finding is important because when older adults begin to lose their sense of autonomy, it can lead to changes in behaviour that adversely affect their health and well-being,” Neupert added.
Researchers evaluated data on 205 people between the ages of 60 and 94. They focused on determining which variables, if any, had an effect on two “control beliefs”: perceived competence, or an individual’s sense that he or she could do the things they wanted to do; and locus of control, or sense that they were in control of their own lives. The researchers found that several variables have a significant effect on both beliefs.
Speaking on it, Neupert said, “We found that sleep efficacy – or the belief that one can get a good night’s sleep – was associated with better control beliefs.”
First author of the paper, Shenghao Zhang added, “We also found that positive affect was good for an individual’s control beliefs, while negative affect was bad.”
“In other words, being in a good mood made people feel better about their competence and control while being in a bad mood made people feel worse about those things,” Zhang added.
According to Zhang, the researchers found that stressful events on one day had an adverse effect on an individual’s subsequent control beliefs.
They went on to add that the results suggest that the adverse effect of stressful events can last for more than a day and it would be interesting to conduct additional work to determine how long the effects of stress resonate in regard to control beliefs.
Neupert further added how the study highlights the importance of sleep and mood.
“When people think they have little or no control in their lives, they may stop doing some of the everyday things that are important for self-care – because they believe those things don’t matter,” Neupert said, adding: “By acting to improve mood and sleep, older adults may better retain their sense of control and better maintain their quality of life.”