November 23, 2013

Sleep and Emotion Regulation

Check out this week's summary and discussion questions, presented by Tony and Spencer.


  1. 3) The sample used for this study had experienced a possible traumatic event
    and subsequently scored very high on measures of PTSD. How did using this
    group affect the generalizability of the results? Do you think a similar group
    that did not suffer a traumatic event and/or did not score clinically elevated
    levels would show the same effects? Are there other related disorders that ED
    and sleep disturbance may be a factor? Are there other Unrelated disorders?

    I think that the use of a trauma sample is particularly problematic in terms of generalizability of the findings because sleep problems are so incredibly common in that population. I would be really interested to see what these relationship look like in a sample of depressed/anxious individuals. I would expect emotion regulation problems to still be strongly related with those symptoms, but not necessarily sleep problems. I think bipolar disorder would be another disorder that would be highly related to sleep disturbance and ED.

    1. Great comment! I would agree that the use of a sample that has encountered a possibly traumatic definitely event affects the generalizability of these results. Interestingly, however, sleep disturbance is also rampant among those solely diagnosed with depression and anxiety. In fact 90% of depressed patients report some kind of difficulty with sleep (Tsuno et al., 2005), raising the interesting question of how that 10% that doesn't have sleep problems is different. The problem is that the term sleep disturbance is a very vague term that encompasses many different types of possible issues. For instance, the type and severity of sleep disturbance could definitely be affected by a previous trauma. While sleep disturbance may still correlate with this population, it is still hard to say anything specific about the type of sleep disturbance and what may actually be going on with them biologically.

  2. Agreed, I'd definitely like to know more about the mechanisms through which various symptom presentations (trauma, depression, anxiety, etc.) impact sleep. Reexperiencing of the event through nightmares seems like a likely candidate in trauma. I also wonder how the relationship between sleep and ED might differ across diagnostic categories.