The Relationship between Self-Compassion and Sleep Quality: An Overview of a Seven-Year German Research Program

Behav Sci (Basel). 2020 Mar 6;10(3):64. doi: 10.3390/bs10030064.


Poor sleep quality is highly prevalent in modern societies and negatively linked to various health outcomes. While previous research has demonstrated preliminary evidence for self-compassion as a tool for improving sleep quality, this review provides a meta-analysis of respective published and unpublished results of our own research group using German samples. A total of nine studies are included (N = 956 participants), consisting of both correlational and experimental data. Across these studies, there was a medium correlation between self-compassion and subjective sleep quality, r = 0.303, 95% CI (0.244; 0.360). In three experimental studies, a small increase in participants' self-reported sleep quality emerged, in comparison to control conditions, Hedges' s g = 0.484, 95% CI (0.148; 0.821). Limitations on study level concern both the small sample sizes and short-term analyses of intervention effects. As a conclusion, this review supports both the correlational and causal relationship between self-compassion and increased subjective sleep quality across diverse operationalizations and samples. Future research should focus on the moderating effects of intervention type, duration of intervention effects, and type of target population.

Keywords: self-compassion; sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Review