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Mindfulness and Sleep Quality: The Importance of Acceptance Christina Barrasso, M.A. 1, Karolina Kowarz, M.A. 1, Dasa Jendrusakova, M.A. 1, Jennifer Block-Lerner,

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Presentation on theme: "Mindfulness and Sleep Quality: The Importance of Acceptance Christina Barrasso, M.A. 1, Karolina Kowarz, M.A. 1, Dasa Jendrusakova, M.A. 1, Jennifer Block-Lerner,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Mindfulness and Sleep Quality: The Importance of Acceptance Christina Barrasso, M.A. 1, Karolina Kowarz, M.A. 1, Dasa Jendrusakova, M.A. 1, Jennifer Block-Lerner, Ph.D. 1, & LeeAnn Cardaciotto, Ph.D. 2 Kean University 1 La Salle University 2 INTRODUCTION Research has shown that mindfulness and acceptance-based approaches, such as ACT, are associated with improved sleep quality in a range of populations (Klatt, Buckworth, & Malarkey, 2008). These findings are particularly relevant to undergraduate students, as the prevalence of sleep difficulties within college populations is twice as high as in the general population (Brown, Buboltz, & Soper, 2001). This is concerning, as studies have shown that poor quality and/or insufficient amounts of sleep serve as predictors of overall poor academic performance (Gaultney, 2010; Gilbert & Weaver, 2010). Further reason for concern comes from a study that investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on a math effort task in undergraduate students. Results indicated that participants assigned to the sleep loss group focused on less challenging math problems (Engle-Friedman, Golan, Ventuneac, Davis, Jefferson, & Major, 2003). As such, sleep deprivation was shown to set limitations on individuals’ cognitive functioning. Similarly, studies have shown that healthier sleep behaviors predict general well-being (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Thus, it seems likely that such a population will benefit from interventions aimed at improving sleep. This would not only target students’ academic performance, but also overall quality of life. Mindfulness can be defined as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally" (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4). The current literature, while preliminarily supporting the value of mindfulness-based techniques for sleep improvement, is just beginning to understand associations between dispositional mindfulness and processes related to sleep. The few studies that have addressed this issue have either utilized measures that emphasize one element of mindfulness or that consider all elements together (Howell, Digdon, & Buro, 2010; Howell, Digdon, Buro, & Sheptycki, 2008). Thus, the present study’s focus is to explore the roles of the acceptance and awareness components separately in college students’ sleep quality. Such exploration should inform the creation and implementation of more effective interventions aimed at improving the sleep quality of the college population. DISCUSSION Our findings suggest the value of targeting sleep quality in college students via interventions that help individuals accept their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Using the PHLMS, we were able to examine acceptance and awareness separately. Interestingly, at a zero-order level, awareness and acceptance were significantly associated with sleep quality in opposite directions, suggesting that increasing awareness but not acceptance may result in poorer sleep quality; future studies should aim to examine these potential interaction effects. Consistent with suggestions made by Lundh (2005), the present study offers evidence of the significant association between experiential acceptance and sleep quality. Further, it suggests that future research on health behaviors such as sleep should continue to employ assessment of separate elements of “mindfulness” or of the hexaflex model (e.g., contact with the present moment and acceptance); breaking down such multifaceted constructs will likely offer clearer implications for treatment. RESULTS Correlation analyses were performed to examine the relations between acceptance, awareness, and sleep quality (see Table 2). A multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine the relative contributions of acceptance and awareness toward sleep quality. Together, acceptance and awareness explained a significant proportion of variance in sleep quality scores, R 2 =.20, F (2, 46) = 5.77, p.05. Table 2 METHOD Measures administered to 49 psychology majors recruited from several sections of a capstone course (mean age = 24.4 SD = 5.2) at a large suburban university in the northeast US included: 1. A brief demographic survey (see Table 1). 2. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI; Buysse et al., 1989). Only the sleep quality component of the PSQI was used in this study. 3. The Philadelphia Mindfulness Scale (PHLMS; Cardaciotto et al., 2008). The PHLMS contains acceptance and awareness subscales designed to be uncorrelated. Table 1 Pearson Correlations Sleep QualityAcceptanceAwareness SleepCorrelation1.387**-.356* QualitySig. (2-tailed) Acceptance Correlation Sig. (2-tailed).387** **.007 Awareness Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) -.356* ** **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).


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