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Going to church leads to a better night's sleep, study finds

The research found a positive correlation between religious service attendance and frequency of prayer with having a sound night's sleep.

Academics found church is a source of psychological support - hope, optimism and sense of meaning - and that social engagement and support at church helps alleviate stress.

Author, Christopher Ellison from the University of Texas at San Antonio said: "This research is relatively uncharted territory that allows us to better understand the way in which religion and spirituality affect a person's health and overall quality of life."

Published in the Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, Ellison and his colleagues conflated the findings of several major studies which sought to establish whether a connection exists between religious involvement and sleep patterns.

It follows a previous study in which Ellison concluded people who experience a greater assurance in spiritual salvation were less likely to display symptoms of depression and anxiety - both associated with poorer sleep.

Kathy Spooner, director of counselling and psychotherapy at the Association of Christian Counsellors, said she was "not surprised" by the findings.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, she said: "In our core of our being we can, therefore, feel secure because we know that we're loved by God and that we know that our life has an eternal significance.

"Just as a child will sleep peaceably in the arms of the good parent, that is - in essence - the kind of peace we can go to bed with."

Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with Kathy Spooner at the Association of Christian Counsellors:

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