Social Indicators Research

, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 147–163 | Cite as

Sleep and psychological well-being

  • N. A. Hamilton
  • C. A. Nelson
  • N. Stevens
  • Heather Kitzman


Although many studies have linked sleep problems with symptoms of psychopathology, fewer studies have examined the relationship between sleep and dimensions of psychological health as well as depression. To fill this gap, 502 community residents were surveyed about sleep habits, symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as Ryff’s six dimensions of psychological well-being. Using cut-offs suggested by epidemiological research, participants were classified as either optimal sleepers (those reporting an average of 6 hours or less than 8.5 hours per night) or suboptimal sleepers (those sleeping less than 6 hours or 8.5 or more hours per night). After controlling for demographic differences (i.e., sex, age, education, ethnicity, employment status, marital status, presence of children), the Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) suggested that optimal sleepers reported fewer symptoms of depression, and anxiety, and reported higher levels of environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self acceptance. Differences between optimal sleepers and non-optimal sleepers in depressive symptoms, positive relations with others, purpose in life and self-acceptance remained significant when people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression were eliminated from the data set. These results are consistent with a theoretical framework that defines sleep as a resource related to stress management and self-regulation.


sleep psychological well-being depression anxiety 


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Nancy Hamilton would like to acknowledge her colleague and mentor the late C. Rick Snyder for his feedback on early drafts of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. A. Hamilton
    • 1
  • C. A. Nelson
    • 1
  • N. Stevens
    • 1
  • Heather Kitzman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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