Day-to-day relations between stress and sleep and the mediating role of perseverative cognition
Number of pages
SourceSleep Medicine, 24, (2016), pp. 71-79
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
SW OZ BSI SCP
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Work, Health and Performance
Objective: The goals of this longitudinal diary-based study were to shed light on the day-level relationship between stress and subsequent sleep, and to examine whether perseverative cognition is a mediating factor in this relation. Methods: A total of 44 Dutch PhD students were followed during a 2-month period, from 1 month before their public thesis defense (ie, a stressful life event), until 1 month thereafter. Participants completed short evening and morning questionnaires on eight occasions (in anticipation of and following the defense), including questions about day-level stress, sleep quality, and perseverative cognition. Objective sleep parameters were collected with the SenseWear Pro Armband. Results: Multilevel analysis was used to analyze daily observations nested within individuals. Analyses revealed that day-level stress was not directly related to subsequent subjective sleep indicators or to subsequent objective sleep indicators. Day-level stress was significantly associated with day-level perseverative cognition, and daily variations in perseverative cognition were significantly related to several day-level objective sleep parameters (sleep efficiency, marginally to number of awakenings, and wake after sleep onset), and to several day-level subjective sleep parameters (sleep quality, number of awakenings, wake after sleep onset). Finally, mediation analyses using path analysis suggested that, on the day level, perseverative cognition functions as a mediator between stress and several sleep parameters, namely, subjective sleep quality, objective sleep efficiency, and subjective wake after sleep onset. Conclusion: Perseverative cognition is a promising explanatory mechanism linking day-level stress to subjective and objective measures of sleep.
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