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Is Self-compassion Associated with Sleep Quality? A Meta-analysis

Abstract

Objectives

Prior research has found that self-compassion is associated with a range of health and well-being outcomes, but the specific association between self-compassion and sleep quality remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to respond to this issue through conducting a meta-analysis to quantify the relationship between self-compassion and sleep quality.

Methods

Systematic literature searches were conducted using the PsychInfo, Embase and Medline electronic databases to identify studies reporting on the relationship between self-compassion and sleep quality. Random effects meta-analysis was used to synthesise results.

Results

Seventeen independent studies from 15 publications met criteria for inclusion in this review. All studies included self-reported sleep quality measures. No study reported objective measurements of sleep quality. Meta-analysis revealed evidence of a significant association whereby those with higher self-compassion reported fewer sleep problems r = − 0.32, 95%CI [− .36, − .28]. In a subgroup (n = 6) of studies that delineated the positively and negatively worded items of the self-compassion scale (termed positive self-compassion and self-coldness, respectively), self-coldness was more strongly associated with poor sleep quality r = 0.36, 95%CI [.18, .52] than positive self-compassion r = − 0.15, 95%CI [− .24, − .05].

Conclusions

Our meta-analysis found that self-compassion is associated with self-reported sleep quality. Future research is needed to investigate directions of causality and to consider if self-compassion-based interventions might be effective in improving sleep quality.

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Contributions

LB: collaborated in study design, conducted the literature search and data analysis and wrote the first draft of the paper. EH: collaborated with the study design, assisted with the literature search and writing of the paper. HL: collaborated with the design and writing of the study.

CB: collaborated in study design and writing and editing of the final manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

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Correspondence to Lydia Brown.

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Brown, L., Houston, E.E., Amonoo, H.L. et al. Is Self-compassion Associated with Sleep Quality? A Meta-analysis. Mindfulness 12, 82–91 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01498-0

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Keywords

  • Self-compassion
  • Sleep
  • Meta-analysis
  • Well-being
  • Self-care