The relationship between a night's sleep and subsequent daytime functioning in older poor and good sleepers

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Those suffering insomnia symptoms generally report daytime impairments. However, research has not assessed whether this relationship holds on a nightly basis, despite the strongly held belief that a night of poor sleep impairs mood and functioning the following day. The objective of this study was to test this relationship in a group of older poor sleepers with insomnia symptoms compared with good sleepers. This study utilized a within-subjects design to investigate day-to-day subjective daytime functioning and its relation to the previous night's sleep. Seventeen older individuals (mean age: 67.5 years) were identified with a retrospective questionnaire and 2 weeks of sleep–wake diary to have poor sleep consistent with insomnia. Seventeen good sleepers (mean age: 67.8 years) were selected using the same measures. Participants reported their beliefs about sleep and daytime functioning on the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep Scale (DBAS-16). One week later they commenced a 14-day period of sleep–wake diaries and concurrent responses to a modified Daytime Insomnia Symptom Scale (DISS). Results showed significant night-to-day covariation between sleep efficiency and daytime functioning for individuals with poor sleep (r = 0.34), but not for good sleepers (r = 0.08). Those poor sleepers who held this covariation belief most strongly were those who subsequently showed this night-to-day relationship the most strongly (r = 0.56). This was not true for good sleepers. For those suffering insomnia, these findings demonstrate their belief that a poor sleep is followed by an impaired daytime, consistent with their experience.

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