Poor rest, insomnia or lack of sleep is a problem that is estimated to affect between 13 and 33 per cent of the Australian population - even more, if you count the statistics that say it's on the rise. There have been various studies trying to figure out sleep solutions, from genetic studies proving it's not all in your head to various methods of action and even looking at how it affects your diet, but this week, a new study has discovered that getting a good night's sleep might simply come down to having something to wake up for.

According to the paper published in Sleep Science and Practice, a study undertaken by Northwestern University in America has found that cultivating a purpose in life could be the best method of action, particularly in older adults. The study, which was the first of its kind to specifically show the findings, looked at 832 participants over the age of 60 and found that those who had a strong purpose in life or a good reason to get out of bed, were less likely to suffer from sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome.

""Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia," said senior author Jason Ong, an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies."

Participants were asked to rate how strongly they felt good about what they had done in the past, and what they hoped to do in the future. And while the data was collected by surveying older people (who have the biggest trouble sleeping and the dwindling life purposes), these findings could translate to younger people.

In a nutshell, it means that by using "mindfulness techniques", focusing on the positives one has to look forward to in life, say if you had a job you love or a pet to look after, could be enough of a "life purpose" to help encourage better sleep.   Which, I guess, in another way, you could also say, "people who don't focus on their unfulfilled desires at 3am get better sleep." Thanks, science! 

Can't sleep? Find your purpose, says science