Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment and CareISSN: 2325-9639

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Personality Traits Associated with Sleep Initiation Problems

Personality Traits Associated with Sleep Initiation Problems

Difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep may be influenced by cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors. Some evidence suggests that particular personality traits are prone toward enhanced arousal, worry, rumination, and poor cognitive and behavioral control, which may contribute to difficulties falling asleep. Presently, we tested the hypothesis that sleep initiation problems would be related to the personality traits of neuroticism, impulsivity, and high emotional control. Sixty-one healthy adults (31 males; 30 females) ranging in age from 18 to 41 completed a questionnaire about sleep problems and several measures of personality, including the NEO-PI-R, Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS 11), and Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS). On average, participants who indicated that they had a problem with sleep initiation scored higher on scales of neuroticism, impulsivity, and emotional control. When personality traits were entered into a stepwise logistic regression, only impulsivity was retained as a significant predictor of the presence or absence of sleep onset difficulties. When sleep latency in minutes was analyzed as a continuous variable, linear regression analyses revealed that both neuroticism and impulsivity combined as significant predictors of the self-reported time to fall asleep. Findings suggest that personality factors involved in negative emotional arousal and rumination are related to problems falling asleep, but that most of the variance appears to be attributable to deficits in cognitive and emotional control.

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