Meaning Of Sleep Quality Subjective
Both insomnia patients and normal sleepers define sleep quality by tiredness upon waking and throughout the day, feeling rested and restored upon waking, and the number of awakenings they experienced in the night. Further, people with insomnia have more requirements for judging sleep to be of good quality, according to a new study.
“Good sleep quality is associated with a wide range of positive outcomes such as better health, less daytime sleepiness, greater well-being and better psychological functioning,” said Allison G. Harvey, PhD, of the University of California at Berkeley, lead author of the study. “Moreover, poor sleep quality is one of the defining features of chronic insomnia.”
So it is surprising that there is minimal systematic research devoted to how humans arrive at their subjective sense of whether they had a good or poor nights sleep. In this study, we used a range of methods to compare the sleep quality judgments of insomnia patients and good sleepers.
Two important findings were:
- Tiredness upon waking and throughout the day were most consistently associated with sleep quality judgments – this finding emphasizes the importance of the recent shift in the field to study daytime variables,
- Individuals with insomnia appear to have more requirements to be met before they feel have experienced a night of good sleep quality.
The study focused on 25 individuals with insomnia and 28 normal sleepers, whose descriptions of good and poor sleep quality nights were analyzed and recorded.
Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. These disorders may also be defined by an overall poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is the most commonly reported sleep disorder. About 30 percent of adults have symptoms of insomnia.
Sleep Volume 31 / Issue 3 / March 1, 2008
The Subjective Meaning of Sleep Quality: A Comparison of Individuals with and without Insomnia
Allison G. Harvey, PhD1; Kathleen Stinson, BA2; Katriina L. Whitaker, BSc2; Damian Moskovitz, BA1; Harvinder Virk, BA
1Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA; 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, UK
“Sleep quality” is poorly defined yet ubiquitously used by researchers, clinicians and patients. While poor sleep quality is a key feature of insomnia, there are few empirical investigations of sleep quality in insomnia patients. Accordingly, our aim was to investigate the subjective meaning of sleep quality among individuals with insomnia and normal sleepers.
Cross sectional between groups (insomnia vs. good sleeper). Analyses were conducted across three outcome variables: (1) a “Speak Freely” procedure in which participants’ descriptions of good and poor sleep quality nights were analysed, (2) a “Sleep Quality Interview” in which participants judged the relative importance of variables included in previous research on sleep quality and (3) a sleep quality diary completed over seven consecutive nights.
University Department of Psychiatry
Individuals with insomnia (n = 25) and normal sleepers (n = 28).
Both the insomnia and normal sleeper groups defined sleep quality by tiredness on waking and throughout the day, feeling rested and restored on waking, and the number of awakenings they experienced in the night. The insomnia group had more requirements for judging sleep to be of good quality.
The meaning of sleep quality among individuals with insomnia and normal sleepers was broadly similar. A comprehensive assessment of a patient’s appraisal of their sleep quality may require an assessment of waking and daytime variables.