Impaired sleep after bedtime stress and worries

Biol Psychol. 2007 Oct;76(3):170-3. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2007.07.010. Epub 2007 Aug 6.


Stress is assumed to impair sleep, but there is very little empirical evidence for this using sleep recordings. Here, we recorded sleep (at home) in 33 normal participants on three nights, which followed days with low, high and intermediate stress. The participants made daily ratings of the level of stress/worries at bedtime and also two-hourly ratings of stress. Only those 16 individuals who differed in stress/worries between two nights were analysed. There was a significantly lower sleep efficiency (81.0% versus 85.2%) a higher percent Wake (22.6% versus 15.6%) and a longer latency to Stage 3 (33.9 versus 18.3 min) during the nights with a higher stress/worry bedtime rating. None of the other sleep variables were affected. Also mean daytime stress ratings were significantly higher on the day preceding and following the high stress/worries sleep. It was concluded that moderate increases in stress/worries at bedtime are associated with moderately impaired sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / classification
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*