Low Sleep Quality Can Increase Stress and Decrease Well-Being

Clayton Sleep Institute reports variability of sleep influences stress, fatigue and mood

ST. LOUIS (May 2008)—The Research Center at Clayton Sleep Institute, a St. Louis-based research center for sleep disorders and treatments, completed two new studies on the relationship between sleep and stress, among other factors: “The Relationships Among Stress, Sleep Duration and Sleep Quality at the Trait and State Level” and “Effects of Sleep Variability and Well-Being on Daily Stress, Fatigue and Mood.”

These findings help fill the void of conclusive research that explains how the behavior effects of sleep duration and sleep variability may contribute to daily affective experience, stress, mood and fatigue.

“While we measured varying trends in each of these studies, together they provide significant insight on sleep and well-being,” said Eric Powell, Ph.D. Director of the Research Center at Clayton Sleep Institute. “While fatigue is generally recognized as an effect of sleep deprivation, research proving that stress, mood and personality can be affected is still pretty groundbreaking.”

Each study surveyed 42 college undergraduates at a Midwestern university. Participants in the first study reported initial trait level measures of stress and tracked their typical sleep quality and sleep duration. The results showed that a high initial trait level of stress has a strong relationship with poorer typical sleep quality and sleep duration. There was also an interesting trend in those with low initial levels of stress toward increased vulnerability of an adverse stress response due to sleep changes.

The second study followed a similar process and repeated analysis of variance, which demonstrated that well-being and sleep variability were predictive of daily stress, fatigue and mood during a weeklong period. Participants with low sleep variability experienced a more positive mood and less stress, fatigue and negative mood, than those with high variability. Linear trends also showed that low well-being participants experienced an increase in negative outcomes over the week, whereas the high well-being group did not.

This is one of 12 abstracts submitted by the Research Center at Clayton Sleep Institute for presentation at the SLEEP 2008 Annual Meeting, which will be held in Baltimore from June 7-12. Each abstract is scored based on scientific merit and quality by three reviewers. SLEEP 2008 is an annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC—a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. For more information on the SLEEP 2008 Annual Meeting, please visit www.sleepmeeting.org.