American University
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The impact of sleep restriction on women's interpersonal functioning

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posted on 2023-08-03, 18:01 authored by Jasmin A. Nieves

Surprisingly limited research exists on the relationship between sleep and interpersonal functioning. There are a few preliminary studies that demonstrate that women might experience an increase in interpersonal orientation under conditions of sleep loss. However, there are no studies that experimentally restrict sleep in women in order to test the effects of sleep loss on interpersonal orientation and functioning. Using a quasi-experimental study design, we hypothesized that women who were sleep restricted would exhibit more socially-oriented and prosocial behaviors than women who were not sleep restricted. Fifty-two women were asked to track their sleep for three nights using an ActiGraph sleep watch and self-report morning sleep diaries. All women were randomly assigned to a sleep restriction condition (less than five hours) or a control condition (eight hours) for their third night of sleep, and then asked to complete a set of social computer tasks and self-report questionnaires the next day. Total sleep time and sleep quality from night three were also assessed. Results show that women in the sleep restriction condition were more likely to choose to perform a set of activities with an acquaintance than women in the control condition. No other results were significant. The findings suggest that sleep might not have a strong impact on social functioning in women. Future studies should assess the relationship between sleep and social functioning in a larger sample and include men in the sample to better understand the role of sex and gender in this relationship.



American University


Degree Awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University


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