A MedicalResearch.com interview with Jaime Tartar, PhD, discusses a study that explores the possibility that poor sleep quality creates a cognitive bias in memory and interpretation for emotionally negative stimuli.
In order to clarify the role of sleep quality on emotion processing, we tested the relationship between sleep quality and a negative cognitive bias through the use of an emotional memory task. We also aimed to contrast these findings with performance on a non-emotional attention task since sleep impairments have previously been shown to cause impairments in (non-emotional) sustained attention. An interesting feature of the study was that we also accounted for potential confounding effects of stress sensitivity and chronotype (ones preferred time of day) since these are both factors known to be related to sleep quality. We found that, compared to those who reported good subjective sleep quality, participants who reported poor subjective sleep quality showed a negative cognitive bias towards emotionally negative stimuli.