Relationships between daily stress responses in everyday life and nightly sleep

David Marcusson-Clavertz, Martin J. Sliwinski, Orfeu M. Buxton, Jinhyuk Kim, David M. Almeida, Joshua M. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Stress and sleep are related, but the nature and time course of this relation is not well understood. We explored the within-person associations of three components of emotional responses to everyday stressors, indexed by negative affect, reactivity (initial response to a stressor), recovery (persistence of the post-stressor response), and pile-up (accumulation of stress episodes), with sleep indicators. We conducted coordinated analyses of data in several studies employing ecological momentary assessments, which captured naturally occurring, self-reported stress and sleep. We defined proximal reactivity as the emotional response to the stressor moment in question compared to an immediate pre-stressor state, and distal reactivity as the emotional response to the stressor moment in question compared to a typical stressor-free state for that person. Results in two of three studies showed that people reported significantly lower sleep quality following days on which they experienced higher levels of distal reactivity to stressors. Days with greater distal reactivity also predicted significantly more difficulty falling asleep in one of two studies. There was no clear association between proximal reactivity and subsequent sleep. Associations of recovery or pile-up with subsequent sleep emerged only in single studies. Poorer sleep quality was significantly related to higher next day levels of negative affect in all three studies, but there were no consistent relations between sleep and next day stress reactivity, recovery, or pile-up. These exploratory analyses suggest that distal reactivity is associated with a heightened risk of experiencing poor sleep quality the following night, and as such the former may serve as a candidate for potential targets for the remediation of the negative effects of stress on sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-532
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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