The Role of Self-Monitoring and Response Inhibition in Improving Sleep Behaviours

  • Jemma Todd
  • Barbara MullanEmail author



Young adults tend to have poor sleep, which may be a result of poor self-regulation.


This study investigated whether manipulating two aspects of self-regulation: self-monitoring and response inhibition could improve sleep behaviours.


University students (N = 190) were randomly allocated to complete (1) a self-monitoring sleep diary and response inhibition training, (2) a sleep diary only, or (3) a control questionnaire daily for a period of 7 days.


Outcome measures were three sleep hygiene behaviours previously found to be particularly important in this population: avoiding going to bed hungry and thirsty, avoiding anxiety and stress-provoking activity before bed, and making the bedroom and sleep environment restful. Those who completed diary-based self-monitoring successfully avoided anxiety and stress-provoking activity before bed more frequently than control participants, corresponding to a medium effect size, and further development may provide a simple intervention to improve aspects of sleep and other health behaviours.


There was no incremental effect of response inhibition training. Modified response inhibition training tasks may be worth investigating in future research.


Self-regulation Sleep hygiene Self-monitoring Response inhibition Young adults 



This research was supported under Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Scheme (project number LP110100220) in collaboration with WorkCover Authority NSW. Thanks are due to the University of Sydney Health Research Lab Group, for their feedback on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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