Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Clinical Psychology, PhD



Faculty Advisor

Amy Marks


Research has begun to elucidate psychological processes involved in optimal sleep experience; the current study examines how sleep reciprocally relates to emotional valence and emotional arousal. To understand the nature of sleep-wake emotional cycles, the compatibility of sleep theory and dimensional emotion theory needs to be tested. The current ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study examines patterns that construct (a) emotion characteristics that predict sleep and (b) sleep components that predict emotion characteristics and their fluctuation. Longitudinal multilevel data was collected from 198 adult participants via an online platform. Participants completed a measure of baseline insomnia severity status. For up to 20 mornings and evenings, participants completed self-report measures of sleep (sleep onset latency and sleep quality) and emotion (circumplex arousal and valence). Order effect variability was controlled for through counterbalanced randomization. Data was analyzed idiographically using multilevel lagged regressed change score analysis, portraying discrete relationships between sleep-emotion EMA datapoints as oscillating over time. Iterations of sleep-emotion relationships were tested systematically to compare significant and non-significant predictions and relative impacts. Results indicated that good sleepers integrate their emotional experiences differently from how poor sleepers integrate their emotional experiences. For good sleepers, better sleep quality predicts robust experiences of positive valence the next day. Additionally, good sleepers exhibit circumplex emotional interaction between valence and arousal in the evening to encourage efficient sleep onset. Poor sleepers do not experience either pattern; instead, they experience disjointedness of sleep and emotional integration guided by heightened emotional arousal. A cyclical model of sleep-emotion circumplex integration is proposed and discussed in relation to assessment of insomnia, interventions for insomnia, and future directions for research. There is a strong line of research demonstrating a relationship between sleep and emotion (Babson and Feldner, 2015). Close relationship between sleep and emotion constructs has been shown to exist among people with both sleep and emotional disorders. Emotional issues are exhibited in sleep based disorders like insomnia disorder (Harvey, 2002; Harvey, 2009; Vanek et al., 2020) and parasomnias (Settineri et al., 2019). Episodic and chronic insomnia symptoms are also found to covary with wakefulness based emotional disorders like anxiety and depression (Harvey et al., 2011; Hellberg et al., 2019; Kloss & Szuba, 2003; Lancee et al., 2017; Mason & Harvey, 2014; Riemann et al., 2019). An empirical mystery remains regarding how core emotional components operate in tandem in a sample of healthy sleepers (Pettersson et al., 2013), and specifically what healthy emotional oscillation looks like. This question of the core components of sleep-emotion integration in subjective experience have not been tested. The current ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study therefore tests predominant circumplex patterns that integrate with sleep onset latency and sleep quality, two subjective bookends that support the integrity of the sleep experience and self-perception. In a study published by Psychological Bulletin in 2013, authors Kuppens, Tuerlinckx, Russell, and Barrett—Russell coined the circumplex emotional framework, comprised of subjective valence and arousal (Russell, 1980; Russell & Barrett, 1999)—discovered that idiographic representation of the emotional circumplex is essential for understanding wakeful well-being. Certainly, a focus on examining emotion in wakefulness is important for psychological science and clinical application; however, the emotion literature and sleep literature are too often mistaken to symbolize orthogonal sides of a coin that is intrinsically reciprocal. To date, it is unknown how idiographic circumplex emotional patterns operate to predict sleep and how sleep patterns operate to predict emotional experience.

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