Although the relationship between sleep problems and suicide has been well established, there has been little investigation as to why this association exists. Emotion regulation has been suggested as a possible mediator in this association (Littlewood et al., 2017), but it has not been formally tested. The current work sought to determine whether depleted emotion regulation capacity mediates the association between poor sleep continuity and suicidal ideation. A sample of 29 undergraduate participants (22 female, 7 male) wore a Camntech MotionWatch 8 to objectively assess sleep fragmentation over three nights. Emotion regulation capacity was determined using resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and self-report measures of belongingness and unlovability were collected to determine desire to die. Bootstrapping techniques were used to determine whether resting RSA mediates the association between sleep fragmentation and unlovability and belongingness. Results indicated that there was no evidence to support any association between sleep fragmentation, resting RSA, and unlovability or belongingness. It is unclear whether these non-significant findings are due to lack of power or to a non-existent effect. Using the results of this preliminary analysis to improve the confidence in future findings, we recommend increasing the sample size by oversampling clinical populations, extending the time recording sleep fragmentation from 3 to 14 nights, and establishing adequate temporal precedence for mediational analysis.

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Journal: Thesis

Keywords: emotion regulation, Sleep, Sleep fragmentation, suicidal ideation, suicide,

Applications: Sleep,

CamNtech Reference: M17052

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