There is deepening understanding of the effects of sleep on emotional information processing. Emotion information processing is a key aspect of social competence, which undergoes important maturational and developmental changes in adolescence; however, most research in this area has focused on adults. Our aim was to test the links between sleep and emotion information processing during early adolescence.
Sleep and facial information processing were assessed objectively during 3 assessment waves, separated by 1-year lags.
Data were obtained in natural environments—sleep was assessed in home settings, and facial information processing was assessed at school.
94 healthy children (53 girls, 41 boys), aged 10 years at Time 1.
Measurements and Results:
Facial information processing was tested under neutral (gender identification) and emotional (emotional expression identification) conditions. Sleep was assessed in home settings using actigraphy for 7 nights at each assessment wave. Waking > 5 min was considered a night awakening. Using multilevel modeling, elevated night awakenings and decreased sleep efficiency significantly predicted poor performance only in the emotional information processing condition (e.g., b = −1.79, SD = 0.52, confidence interval: lower boundary = −2.82, upper boundary = −0.076, t(416.94) = −3.42, P = 0.001).
Poor sleep quality is associated with compromised emotional information processing during early adolescence, a sensitive period in socio-emotional development.
Soffer-Dudek N; Sadeh A; Dahl RE; Rosenblat-Stein S. Poor sleep quality predicts deficient emotion information processing over time in early adolescence. SLEEP 2011;34(11):1499-1508.