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Bidirectional, Temporal Associations of Sleep with Positive Events, Affect, and Stressors in Daily Life Across a Week



Sleep is intricately tied to emotional well-being, yet little is known about the reciprocal links between sleep and psychosocial experiences in the context of daily life.


The aim of this study is to evaluate daily psychosocial experiences (positive and negative affect, positive events, and stressors) as predictors of same-night sleep quality and duration, in addition to the reversed associations of nightly sleep predicting next-day experiences.


Daily experiences and self-reported sleep were assessed via telephone interviews for eight consecutive evenings in two replicate samples of US employees (131 higher-income professionals and 181 lower-income hourly workers). Multilevel models evaluated within-person associations of daily experiences with sleep quality and duration. Analyses controlled for demographics, insomnia symptoms, the previous day’s experiences and sleep measures, and additional day-level covariates.


Daily positive experiences were associated with improved as well as disrupted subsequent sleep. Specifically, positive events at home predicted better sleep quality in both samples, whereas greater positive affect was associated with shorter sleep duration among the higher-income professionals. Negative affect and stressors were unrelated to subsequent sleep. Results for the reversed direction revealed that better sleep quality (and, to a lesser degree, longer sleep duration) predicted emotional well-being and lower odds of encountering stressors on the following day.


Given the reciprocal relationships between sleep and daily experiences, efforts to improve well-being in daily life should reflect the importance of sleep.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nancy L. Sin PhD.

Ethics declarations

Authors’ Statement of Conflict of Interest and Adherence to Ethical Standards

Authors Sin, Almeida, Crain, Kossek, Berkman, and Buxton declare that they have no conflict of interest. All procedures, including the informed consent process, were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.


This research was conducted as part of the Work, Family, and Health Network (, which is funded by a cooperative agreement through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U01HD051217, U01HD051218, U01HD051256, U01HD051276), National Institute on Aging (U01AG027669), Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (U01OH008788, U01HD059773). Grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (R01HL107240), William T. Grant Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Administration for Children and Families provided additional funding. Dr. Sin was supported by National Institute on Aging grant F32AG048698. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of these institutes and offices.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Sin, N.L., Almeida, D.M., Crain, T.L. et al. Bidirectional, Temporal Associations of Sleep with Positive Events, Affect, and Stressors in Daily Life Across a Week. ann. behav. med. 51, 402–415 (2017).

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  • Sleep
  • Daily stress
  • Positive events
  • Positive affect
  • Negative affect