Faculty Member

Sleep-related problems (SRPs) among adolescents are a growing concern. Theory and research suggest that emotional arousal may have cyclical relation with SRPs, but whether emotional dysregulation plays a role is not clear. We investigated associations between two physiological indices of emotion regulation (video baseline heart rate variability and change in heart rate variability to a stressor) and SRPs in a sample of 80 adolescents (ages 11-17 years; 51% female; 37.5% African American). The findings showed a negative relation between video baseline heart rate variability and SRPs, controlling for non-sleep-related anxiety disorder symptoms (β = -0.29) and general manifest anxiety (β = -0.25). We found no relation between change in heart rate variability to a stressor and SRPs when non-sleep-related anxious arousal was controlled. If replicated, findings illustrate the importance of physiological regulation of emotion influencing (or influenced by) SRPs during adolescence.