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Effects of sleep loss and sleep recovery on mood and mood regulation

Kim, Yee Yan (2018) Effects of sleep loss and sleep recovery on mood and mood regulation. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Acute sleep deprivation has been found to cause a wide range of negative emotional consequences. However, less is known about how sleep-deprived individuals cope emotionally after such a drastic change, or about the timeframe it takes to recover from the emotional consequences of sleep deprivation. This thesis addresses these questions, as well as investigating factors that might buffer the effects of sleep deprivation and promote subsequent recovery. After three days of baseline recording, a sample of 63 healthy undergraduates underwent 24 hours of sleep deprivation in a naturalistic setting. Their recovery, in terms of mood, mood regulation and cognitive alertness, was tracked for the next three days. To account for any effect of overnight activities, the participants also recorded their perceived exertion and enjoyment levels for activities undertaken during the sleep deprivation period. On each of the three recovery days, they also recorded their use of recovery strategies (i.e., daytime napping, night sleep extension, caffeine consumption).

Investigation 1 demonstrated that sleep deprivation had greater deleterious effects on positive affect than negative affect, and created an indeterminate state where the sleep-deprived person rejected their worsened mood yet did not act to repair it. Investigation 2 showed that a large degree of emotional recovery was achieved one day after sleep deprivation, and also revealed evidence that older age might mitigate against the effects of sleep deprivation and accelerate subsequent recovery. Collectively, Investigations 2 and 3 identified behavioural factors that might mitigate sleep deprivation effects and enhance subsequent emotional recovery, within a naturalistic setting. For the effects of sleep deprivation, the results of path analyses revealed that higher perceived physical and mental exertion during overnight activities predicted less emotional and cognitive decline immediately after sleep deprivation, even after controlling for perceived enjoyment of activities. During the recovery period, daytime napping predicted greater recovery from negative affect the following day, whereas night sleep extension and caffeine consumption did not; positive affect recovery was not associated with use of any strategy. Investigation 4 showed that the recovery detected one day after sleep deprivation in Investigation 2 was largely maintained three days after sleep deprivation; however, positive affect did not fully recover in this timeframe, and delayed changes were detected in fatigue and the mood maintenance aspect of regulation. Investigation 5 showed that mood maintenance became less responsive to mood immediately after sleep deprivation, relative to the baseline phase, and that sleep deprivation also attenuated the positive association between mood repair and mood the following day, as compared to baseline.

This research demonstrated that 24 hours of sleep deprivation not only caused severe mood deterioration, it also impaired the ability to regulate mood by disrupting the usual responsiveness of mood regulation to mood input and regulatory outcomes. The research also provided support for many of Mayer and Stevens’ (1994) tenets of mood regulation, and suggested some important developments to their theory, including the need for greater attention to low positive affect in the context of sleep deprivation and its potential direct effects on mood regulation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Supervisor(s): Davis, Helen and Dziurawiec, Suzanne
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41850
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