The effect of fragmented sleep on emotion regulation ability and usage

Cognition and Emotion 37 (6):1132-1143 (2023)
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Abstract

Sleep has a profound effect on our mood, but insight in the mechanisms underlying this association is still lacking. We tested whether emotion regulation is a mediator in the relationship between fragmented sleep and mood disturbance. The effect of fragmented sleep on the emotion regulation strategies, including cognitive reappraisal, distraction, acceptance and suppression ability, was assessed. We further tested whether the use of these strategies, as well as rumination and self-criticism, mediated the association between fragmented sleep and negative and positive affect. Participants (N = 69) wore an actiwatch and filled in a sleep diary for 12 consecutive nights. They had one control night and one sleep fragmentation night. Emotion regulation ability was assessed with an experimental task. Usage of emotion regulation strategies and negative and positive affect were assessed four times during the day with a survey after the control and sleep fragmentation night. Cognitive reappraisal, distraction, acceptance and suppression ability did not differ between the sleep fragmentation and control condition. However, participants reported higher usage of rumination and distraction after the sleep fragmentation night and rumination significantly mediated the negative association between fragmented sleep and negative affect.

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