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The Association of Sleep and Next-Day Emotion Regulation in Adolescents

posted on 2023-08-04, 09:05 authored by Rebecca Wyckoff Kim

This study addresses the gaps in the literature focusing on sleep and emotion regulation in everyday lives of teenagers. We examined how fluctuations in objective and subjective sleep indicators predict everyday emotion regulation variables, including the occurrence of negative and positive events, appraisals of those events, appraisals of coping efficacy, and emotion reactivity. Further, we aimed to understand how trait level emotion dysregulation affects the participants’ vulnerability to poor sleep and emotion regulation. We hypothesized that nights following poor sleep would be characterized by a higher number of stressful events and fewer positive events, more negative perceptions of events, decreased reporting of coping efficacy, and greater emotion reactivity to negative events. We hypothesized that these results would be stronger for those participants higher in trait-level emotion dysregulation. We used a two-week daily diary model to assess stress and emotion variables and subjective sleep quality. We also objectively measured total sleep time using a commercially available sleep tracker (Fitbit). Across the sample as a whole, our results indicated that decreases in objective total sleep time were associated with greater number of next-day positive events and higher next-day stress perceptions. Decreases in subjective sleep quality were associated with higher next-day stress perceptions and lower next-day positive emotion. Additionally, we found that participants who were higher in trait-level emotion dysregulation were not as strongly affected by poor sleep and their emotion regulation variables were generally worse regardless of changes in sleep. We found that those participants lower in trait-level dysregulation were more susceptible to poor sleep, such that when they experienced poor sleep, their emotion regulation looked more like emotionally dysregulated teens (higher negative affect and lower sense of coping efficacy). However, there were many stress perception and emotion regulation variables that were not affected by poor sleep, suggesting that teens might be resilient to some sleep disruptions. These results have important implications for understanding how poor sleep might affect high school students and how schools and parents can think about sleep as part of the holistic well-being of adolescents.





Degree Awarded: Ph.D. Psychology. American University.; Electronic thesis available to American University authorized users only, per author's request.


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