The effects of sleep continuity disruption on positive mood and sleep architecture in healthy adults

Patrick H. Finan, Phillip J. Quartana, Michael T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


positive mood in order to better understand the mechanisms linking insomnia and depression. Design: Participants were randomized to receive 3 consecutive nights of sleep continuity disruption via forced nocturnal awakenings (FA, n = 21), or one of two control conditions: restricted sleep opportunity (RSO, n = 17) or uninterrupted sleep (US, n = 24). Setting: The study was set in an inpatient clinical research suite. Participants: Healthy, good-sleeping men and women were included. Measurement and Results: Polysomnography was used to measure sleep architecture, and mood was assessed via self-report each day. Compared to restricted sleep opportunity controls, forced awakenings subjects had significantly less slow wave sleep (P < 0.05) after the first night of sleep deprivation, and significantly lower positive mood (P < 0.05) after the second night of sleep deprivation. The differential change in slow wave sleep statistically mediated the observed group differences in positive mood (P = 0.002). Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first human experimental study to demonstrate that, despite comparable reductions in total sleep time, partial sleep loss from sleep continuity disruption is more detrimental to positive mood than partial sleep loss from delaying bedtime, even when controlling for concomitant increases in negative mood. With these findings, we provide temporal evidence in support of a putative biologic mechanism (slow wave sleep deficit) that could help explain the strong comorbidity between insomnia and depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1735-1742
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Insomnia
  • Positive mood
  • Sleep continuity disruption
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Slow wave sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of sleep continuity disruption on positive mood and sleep architecture in healthy adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this