The Effects of Poor Sleep on Cognitive, Affective, and Physiological Responses to a Laboratory Stressor

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BackgroundRecent research suggests that poor sleep may be associated with altered stress regulation.PurposeThis study aims to examine the associations between prior-night and prior-month sleep measures and affective, cognitive, and physiological responses to a laboratory stressor.MethodsNinety-eight (50 % female) young adults completed measures of sleep quality in the context of a laboratory stress study. Measures included positive (PA) and negative affects (NA) and blood pressure (BP) reactivity, as well as change in pre-sleep arousal.ResultsPrior-month poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances predicted dampened BP reactivity. Both prior-night and prior-month sleep quality predicted greater decrease in PA. Sleep-associated monitoring predicted NA reactivity and prolonged cognitive and affective activation. Prior-month sleep continuity predicted greater cognitive pre-sleep arousal change, and prior-month sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, and disturbances predicted prolonged cognitive and affective activation.ConclusionFindings suggest that inadequate sleep confers vulnerability to poor cognitive, affective, and physiological responses to stress.

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