Objective: We examined effects of daily rumination and suppression in response to stressors on objective and subjective sleep among mothers.
Design: Participants were 183 mothers, including chronically stressed mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder (M-ASD; n = 92) and age-matched mothers of neurotypical children (M-NT; n = 91). In an intensive longitudinal design, participants provided reports of daily rumination and suppression, nightly objective actigraphy-defined sleep and nightly subjective sleep quality for seven consecutive days at baseline, 9 months and 18 months.
Main outcome measures: Total sleep time, sleep fragmentation, sleep onset latency, and subjective sleep quality.
Results: Among M-NT with above average depressive symptoms, higher daily rumination was associated with shorter total sleep time. Rumination was associated with more sleep fragmentation among M-NT at the trend level. Rumination was not associated with sleep onset latency among M-NT, or with any sleep outcomes among M-ASD. Suppression was not associated with any sleep outcomes.
Conclusion: We provide novel evidence of the effect of rumination on objectively measured sleep duration among M-NT. Coping was not related to sleep among M-ASD. Given the prevalence of poor sleep among mothers, future work should examine modifiable factors perpetuating sleep disturbance.
Keywords: mothers; rumination; sleep fragmentation; sleep onset latency; sleep quality; suppression; total sleep time.