Personality Traits and the Subjective and Objective Experience of Sleep

Angelina R. Sutin, Alyssa A. Gamaldo, Yannick Stephan, Jason E. Strickhouser, Antonio Terracciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: There is growing evidence that five-factor model personality traits are associated with self-reported sleep. We test whether these associations extend to objective sleep measures in older adulthood and whether measures of objective sleep mediate the relation between personality and subjective sleep. Methods: A random subsample of participants in the National Social Life and Aging Project (NSHAP) wore an accelerometer for up to three nights and had information on FFM personality traits (N = 620). Participants also reported on their feelings of being rested. Results: Higher neuroticism and lower extraversion and conscientiousness were associated with more frequent wake after sleep onset, greater fragmentation, and feeling less rested. Concurrent body mass index, disease burden, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms accounted for these associations. Personality was unrelated to total time spent asleep but conscientiousness was associated with earlier and more consistent bedtimes. None of the objective sleep metrics mediated the relation between personality and subjective sleep. Conclusions: The present research indicates that the associations typically found for personality and subjective sleep extend to objective sleep fragmentation. These objective measures, however, do not account for the relation between personality and feeling rested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-485
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology


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