Daily affective experiences predict objective sleep outcomes among adolescents

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Adolescence is a sensitive period for changes in both sleep and affect. Although past research has assessed the association between affect and sleep among adolescents, few studies have examined both trait (typical) and day-to-day changes in affect, and fewer still have specifically examined negative social evaluative emotions (e.g. embarrassment) in relation to sleep. Both between- and within-person variations in daily affect were examined in relation to four objectively-measured sleep outcomes (sleep hours; sleep latency; sleep efficiency; and length of wake bouts) among adolescents. Participants (N = 77 high-school students; 42.9% female; M = 14.37 years) wore an actiwatch and completed daily-diaries for 3 days. The results of hierarchical linear models (controlling for age, gender, race, ethnicity, parental employment status, income, puberty and caffeine) indicated that negative social evaluative emotions and high-arousal affective experiences generally predicted poor sleep outcomes, whereas low-arousal affective experiences were associated with good sleep outcomes. Specifically, at the person level, adolescents reporting higher negative social evaluative emotions had shorter average sleep hours, and those experiencing higher anxiety–nervousness had longer wake bouts. In addition, individuals experiencing more dysphoria (sad, depressed, lonely) had longer average sleep hours and shorter wake bouts, while those experiencing more calmness had shorter sleep latencies. At the within-person level, individuals had longer sleep latencies following days that they had experienced high-arousal positive affect (e.g. excitement), and had longer wake bouts following days they had experienced more negative social evaluative emotions. The results highlight the detrimental effects of negative social evaluative emotions and high-arousal affective states for adolescent sleep.

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