Today, technology has seeped into most aspects of health and fitness including sleep. Many popular wearable devices also include a feature to track sleep to help people monitor sleep habits and quality. However, a new study has revealed that more than such technologies, how people feel about their sleep has a greater impact on their well-being.
A study led by researchers from the University of Warwick found that people’s perceptions of their sleep impacted their mood the next day. For the research, more than 100 participants aged between 18 and 22 years were asked to keep a daily sleep diary for two weeks, according to the university's press statement. They recorded what time they went to bed, the amount of time it took to sleep, when they woke up and how satisfied they were with their sleep. The findings were published in the journal Emotion.
Participants were asked to rate their positive and negative emotions as well as their life satisfaction five times throughout the following day. They also wore an actigraph to measure their movement and estimate sleep patterns and rest cycles.
The actigraphy data with the participant’s perceptions of their sleep were compared with their mood and life satisfaction throughout the following day. The results revealed that the two aspects were more consistently linked with how participants felt compared to the actigraphy data, according to the statement.
For instance, when participants reported that they slept better than they usually did, they experienced more positive emotions and had a higher sense of life satisfaction the next day. However, the actigraphy data did not show associations with the next day’s well-being at all.
“This suggests there is a difference between actigraphy-measured sleep efficiency and people’s own perception of their sleep quality in how they link to people’s evaluations of their well-being,” lead author Anita Lenneis said in the press statement.
Hence, the study suggests that evaluating your sleep positively may contribute to a better mood on the next day. “Even though a sleep tracking device might say that you slept poorly last night, your own perception of your sleep quality may be quite positive. And if you think that you slept well, it may help better your mood the next day,” Lenneis added in the statement.
One of the ways to improve sleep quality is by engaging in regular exercise, previous research suggests. In January 2023, a study by researchers from Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology showed that moderate-to-intense exercise improved sleep quality in middle-aged women.