Sleep quality is associated with emotion experience and adaptive regulation of positive emotion: An experience sampling study

Christine E. Parsons, Beatrice Schofield, Sofia E. Batziou, Camilla Ward, Katherine S. Young*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Poor sleep patterns have been strongly linked to disrupted emotional experiences. Emotion regulation, defined as the capacity to manage one's own emotional responses, comprises strategies to increase, maintain, or decrease the intensity, duration, and trajectory of positive and negative emotions. Poor sleep has been identified as a risk factor for emotional dysregulation, but most of the focus has been on negative emotion regulation. We therefore asked whether natural variations in sleep are associated with the experience and regulation of both positive and negative emotion. Young adults, aged between 18–24 years (N = 101), completed 7 days of ecological momentary assessments using a smartphone application. Duration and quality of the previous night's sleep was reported each morning. Levels of positive and negative emotions, and strategies used to regulate emotions, were measured at pseudorandom timepoints four times a day. Multilevel modelling indicated that higher self-reported sleep quality was significantly associated with increased intensity and duration of positive emotion, and decreased intensity of negative emotion. There were no statistically significant associations between sleep duration and emotion intensity or duration. Sleep quality, and not sleep duration, was also associated with the reported use of positive emotion regulation strategies. For negative emotion regulation strategy use, we found no associations with sleep quality or duration. Naturally occurring fluctuations in daily sleep quality may be important for the experience and regulation of positive emotion in young adults. These findings emphasise the need to examine both positive and negative emotion, and emotion regulation to understand the links between sleep and mood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • ecological momentary assessment, emotion regulation, negative emotion, positive emotion, sleep


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