Dispositional Experiential Emotion Regulation and the effects of PreSleep Negative Mood on Sleep
The present study investigates the impact of pre-sleep negative stress on sleep and unrecognized effects of dispositional emotion regulation. It was examined whether the induction of negative pre-sleep emotion had a negative impact on sleep physiology and second, whether a dispositional High ‘Emotional Approach’ (HEA) compared to a ‘Low Emotional Approach’ (LEA) defined by high versus low efforts to identify, process, and express emotions, assessed by the ‘Emotional Approach’ scale EAC, Stanton et al., facilitates the recovery from a pre-sleep failure-experience and its effects on sleep physiology. The induction of a personal failure experience resulted in a worsening of mood, a significant increase of ruminative thoughts about one’s own performance and impaired subsequent sleep physiology. The negative impact on sleep physiology was observed in decreases in sleep efficiency, (SE), total sleep time (TST), an increase in total time awake (TTA), and latency to the third phase sleep (N3) or slow wave sleep (SWS) and % REM-sleep. Our main objective of exploring emotion regulation as a personality trait in this study revealed an impact of dispositional differences in a high versus low emotional approach on the recovery of painful emotions within subjects and not between subjects. This result can be explained by the small group of participants- a characteristic of much effortful and exploratory sleep research. However and this is highly interesting: within the group with a LEA (8), more sleep parameters were affected in the night after the failure induction; a longer sleep onset latency, an enhanced latency to slow wave sleep, less % REM-sleep, more arousals, time awake, less total sleep time and sleep efficiency during the failure night relative to the neutral night was observed. Within the group of a HEA (7), only REM-% was decreased in the failure induction compared to the neutral condition. These preliminary results suggest an adaptive regulatory effect of a HEA in the recovery with a painful experience, an effect extending into sleep.