Associations between sleep disturbances, personality, and trait emotional intelligence

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Insomnia is defined by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking earlier than desired with inability to return to sleep. Complaints of nonrestorative sleep (NRS) are often associated with insomnia but can occur independently. Fragmented sleep and NRS have been shown to relate to one’s mood, one’s ability to process their own or others’ emotions, and can lead to changes in cognitions and behaviors. Personality traits related to increases in anxiousness may play a role in the development and maintenance of sleep disorders and associated daytime impairment of NRS. The relations between sleep disturbance, personality traits, and trait emotional intelligence are underrepresented in the current literature and findings have been mixed. This study addressed some inconsistencies by identifying associations between the Big Five personality traits, trait emotional intelligence (TEI), complaints of NRS, and disrupted sleep associated with insomnia. We predicted that neuroticism would relate to poorer sleep and that conscientiousness and TEI would be associated with better sleep. Openness to experience, extraversion, and agreeableness are not often discussed in the literature, but were expected to associate similarly as conscientiousness. Results provided support for the idea that trait characteristics are associated with insomnia severity and restorative sleep quality. These findings indicated that personality and TEI may play a role in development and maintenance of sleep disorders and daytime impairment of NRS; higher conscientiousness, lower neuroticism, and higher TEI possibly demonstrate a protective role to experiencing negative effects of poor sleep.

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