Atheists trump the religious when it comes to sleep quality

Religion may offer some people comfort, but that apparently doesn't translate to improved sleep quality, at least according to a new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The organization recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but found that Baptists and Catholics are far less likely to hit that minimum compared to their agnostic and atheist counterparts.

Adequate levels of sleep are necessary to maintain good health both in the short- and long-term. Many studies over the decades have linked lack of sleep or poor sleep quality with various negative outcomes, including brain fog, poorer performance during the day, driving risk, and more long-term issues like a greater risk of developing heart disease and other serious conditions.

Many things contribute to the quality of sleep that one gets, including their sleeping environment, health conditions, medications, mental status, and similar things. The new study found that one's perception of heaven and religious affiliation may also play a role in this, and not always in a good way.

Whereas the study found that 73-percent of agnostics and atheists were likely to get at least seven hours of sleep per night, only 53-percent of Baptists hit or exceed that minimum and only 63-percent of Catholics. As well, these religious people were more likely to report having trouble falling asleep compared to their non-religious counterparts.

The findings were based on the responses of around 1,500 people on a religious survey. As well, the researchers note a link between the people who got at least seven hours of sleep a night and a 'significant' belief in their eventual arrival in heaven compared to those who got fewer hours of sleep. That indicates that the more sleep you get at night — within reason, of course — the more optimistic you're prone to being during the day.