The dynamic interplay between nightly sleep quality and next day psychosocial functioning

I love that the technology allows researchers to construct the surveys themselves. It’s actually quite fun. I also think the flexible sampling schema will be immensely beneficial to us when we run our study.

Jeremy Grove

At a Glance


  • Context: -
  • Number of participants: 7-10 to pilot, 60-90 for eventual study
  • Number of days per participants: 2-3 to pilot, 5-7 for eventual study
  • Number of prompst per Day: 5-6
  • Number of Items: 48 per day


We plan to investigate the dynamic interplay between nightly sleep quality and next day psychosocial functioning. Specifically, we want to know if there are within-person effects of low sleep quality (relative to the grand mean) on subsequent affect, interpersonal stress, and impulsivity. For the pilot study, we would be using undergraduates who would receive 5-6 prompts of questions each day regarding the above psychosocial variables and complete brief event-contingent surveys on interpersonal variables during the day and a brief questionnaire on pre-sleep cognitive/affective arousal each night before bedtime. Each morning, they would complete a few items on sleep quality (e.g. did they wake up feeling rested? Nightmares? Etc.). For the pilot study, we were thinking of having each participant complete 2-3 days of surveys. If the pilot study goes as planned, we will apply this protocol to two clinical populations: Borderline Personality Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder as well as healthy controls and expand the data collections period to 5-7 days in addition to adding other EMA measures (e.g. sleep actigraphy, salivary alpha malaise) and look at within-person and between-group effects. Overall, we expect that individuals with BPD will have overall poorer SQ, greater pre-sleep arousal, and will demonstrate the strongest within-person effects on nighttime sleep functioning and next day psychosocial functioning compared to other groups, given how (1) important sleep is in regulating emotions and (2) how emotionally sensitive BPD individuals are at baseline and how emotional sensitivity contributes to other areas of dysfunction, such as maladaptive behaviors (e.g. substance use) and interpersonal conflict.

Here are our hypotheses:

• Hypothesis 1: Low SQ the previous night will be associated with elevated next-day BPD symptom severity (greater affect, impulsivity) and related daily dysfunction (interpersonal stress and dysfunctional behaviors).

• Hypothesis 2: Daytime dysfunction (greater interpersonal stress and dysfunctional behaviors) will predict elevated PSA (negative affect and rumination related to the day’s events, increased salivary alpha amylase activity) later that evening.

• Hypothesis 3: There will be a positive feedback loop between poor SQ and daytime dysfunction in BPD through indirect effects of BPD symptom severity and PSA.

• Hypothesis 4: BPD group will demonstrate stronger within-effects of low SQ on daytime dysfunction compared to the other groups.

• Hypothesis 5: BPD group will demonstrate greater mean levels of pre-sleep arousal and lower mean levels of SQ compared to the other groups.