Summary: Better quality sleep is linked to improved emotions and fewer stressors the next day, a new study reports.
Source: Penn State.
Researchers found that sleep hours and quality affect daily stressors the next day.
Researchers in the Department of Biobehavioral Health (BBH) at Penn State found that sleep quality and quantity at night is affected by that day’s stressors, and sleep hours and quality affect daily stressors the next day.
The relationship can create a cycle that can positively — or negatively — affect individuals and families, especially families in which one or both parents work outside the home.
The findings, from two separate studies, suggest that better sleep may promote positive experiences and less conflict, as well as more time for self, such as exercise, and more time with children, according to the researchers.
“Sleep plays a central role in our daily lives. A day with less stress and conflict is followed by a night where it’s easier to get to sleep. Having a good night of sleep is more likely to be followed by a workday with less stress and conflict. In this case, sleep is a powerful source of resilience in difficult times,” said Orfeu Buxton, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, director of the Sleep, Health and Society Laboratory, and senior author of the two studies.
Data for both studies are from a larger study called the Work, Family & Health Study, which was designed to examine multisite companies within the information technology and the extended-care (nursing home) sectors.
In the first study, based on 1,600 daily interviews with 102 midlife employees in the IT industry, daily psychosocial stressors — including stressful events, situations and tensions at work, school or home — and nightly sleep had reciprocal influences, according to Soomi Lee, lead author and Penn State postdoctoral scholar.
Researchers found work interfering with personal and family life, and perception of not having enough time for family and personal life — the most prevalent stressors in midlife — were associated with interrupted sleep and a longer period of time before falling asleep.
“We found that shorter and lower quality sleep tended to lead to more stressors on the following day,” Lee said.
This was a consistent pattern across specific types of daily stressors. On days following shorter and lower quality sleep than usual, participants reported higher work-to-family conflict than usual. And on days following shorter sleep and lower quality sleep than usual, participants reported less time for themselves to exercise, and also less time for their children.
Conversely, higher work-to-family conflict and less time for exercising and children on a given day preceded longer time to fall asleep that night.
One exception to this consistent pattern was that perceiving less time for children also preceded shorter sleep hours and lower quality sleep that night. When participants slept less or poorer than usual, they perceived having less than usual time for their children the next day. Lee said having lack of time for children is a salient stressor among midlife parents, thus may both precede and follow nightly sleep replenishment.
The IT company represented a higher-income, professional-level workforce, whereas the extended-care company was a lower-wage, hourly workforce.
In another study, Nancy Sin, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Healthy Aging and BBH, and colleagues examined positive and negative emotions, positive events and stressors as predictors of same-night sleep quality and duration, in addition to the reversed associations of nightly sleep predicting next-day experiences.
They found that better sleep quality was linked to improved emotions, more positive events, and fewer stressors on the following day.
Researchers examined 1,900 daily interviews from employees in the IT and extended care industries.
“Our results suggest the possibility that efforts to improve sleep quality may promote better mood and reduce stressors across work and personal contexts,” Sin said. “This study underscores the important contributions of psychological and contextual factors in everyday life for sleep and health.”
The findings may also inform future research on the work-family balance and the effects of sleep on physical and psychosocial health.
Funding: The work on both studies was funded by the National Institutes of Health: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute on Aging; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; the William T. Grant Foundation; and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Source: Marjorie S. Miller – Penn State
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the Penn State press release.
Original Research: Abstract for “Bidirectional, Temporal Associations of Sleep with Positive Events, Affect, and Stressors in Daily Life Across a Week” by Nancy L. Sin, David M. Almeida, Tori L. Crain, Ellen Ernst Kossek, Lisa F. Berkman, and Orfeu M. Buxton in Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Published online February 10 2017 doi:10.1007/s12160-016-9864-y
Abstract for “Daily antecedents and consequences of nightly sleep” by Soomi Lee, Tori L. Crain, Susan M. McHale, David M. Almeida and Orfeu M. Buxton in Journal of Sleep Research. Published online December 23 2016 doi:10.1111/jsr.12488
Bidirectional, Temporal Associations of Sleep with Positive Events, Affect, and Stressors in Daily Life Across a Week
Sleep is intricately tied to emotional well-being, yet little is known about the reciprocal links between sleep and psychosocial experiences in the context of daily life.
The aim of this study is to evaluate daily psychosocial experiences (positive and negative affect, positive events, and stressors) as predictors of same-night sleep quality and duration, in addition to the reversed associations of nightly sleep predicting next-day experiences.
Daily experiences and self-reported sleep were assessed via telephone interviews for eight consecutive evenings in two replicate samples of US employees (131 higher-income professionals and 181 lower-income hourly workers). Multilevel models evaluated within-person associations of daily experiences with sleep quality and duration. Analyses controlled for demographics, insomnia symptoms, the previous day’s experiences and sleep measures, and additional day-level covariates.
Daily positive experiences were associated with improved as well as disrupted subsequent sleep. Specifically, positive events at home predicted better sleep quality in both samples, whereas greater positive affect was associated with shorter sleep duration among the higher-income professionals. Negative affect and stressors were unrelated to subsequent sleep. Results for the reversed direction revealed that better sleep quality (and, to a lesser degree, longer sleep duration) predicted emotional well-being and lower odds of encountering stressors on the following day.
Given the reciprocal relationships between sleep and daily experiences, efforts to improve well-being in daily life should reflect the importance of sleep.
“Bidirectional, Temporal Associations of Sleep with Positive Events, Affect, and Stressors in Daily Life Across a Week” by Nancy L. Sin, David M. Almeida, Tori L. Crain, Ellen Ernst Kossek, Lisa F. Berkman, and Orfeu M. Buxton in Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Published online February 10 2017 doi:10.1007/s12160-016-9864-y
Daily antecedents and consequences of nightly sleep
Sleep can serve as both cause and consequence of individuals’ everyday experiences. We built upon prior studies of the correlates of sleep, which have relied primarily on cross-sectional data, to examine the antecedents and consequences of sleep using a daily diary design. Specifically, we assessed the temporal sequence between nightly sleep and daily psychosocial stressors. Parents employed in a US information technology company (n = 102) completed eight consecutive daily diaries at both baseline and 1 year later. In telephone interviews each evening, participants reported on the previous night’s sleep hours, sleep quality and sleep latency. They also reported daily work-to-family conflict and time inadequacy (i.e. perceptions of not having enough time) for their child and for themselves to engage in exercise. Multi-level models testing lagged and non-lagged effects simultaneously revealed that sleep hours and sleep quality were associated with next-day consequences of work-to-family conflict and time inadequacy, whereas psychosocial stressors as antecedents did not predict sleep hours or quality that night. For sleep latency, the opposite temporal order emerged: on days with more work-to-family conflict or time inadequacy for child and self than usual, participants reported longer sleep latencies than usual. An exception to this otherwise consistent pattern was that time inadequacy for child also preceded shorter sleep hours and poorer sleep quality that night. The results highlight the utility of a daily diary design for capturing the temporal sequences linking sleep and psychosocial stressors.
“Daily antecedents and consequences of nightly sleep” by Soomi Lee, Tori L. Crain, Susan M. McHale, David M. Almeida and Orfeu M. Buxton in Journal of Sleep Research. Published online December 23 2016 doi:10.1111/jsr.12488