Influence of sleep deprivation on emotion regulation strategies: An event-related potential study

Jinxiao ZHANG, Esther Yuet Ying LAU, Janet H. HSIAO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Introduction: Sleep loss is suggested to affect emotion regulation but few studies directly examined it. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of sleep deprivation on the use of adaptive as well as maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. Reappraisal and distraction are commonly found to be effective emotion regulation strategies, while suppression is less effective or even maladaptive. The late positive potential (LPP) component of the event-related potential (ERP) is an established tool to index emotion regulation. Methods: 53 young healthy adults participated in a 3-Day experiment. On Day 1, all participants were taught to apply the three emotion regulation strategies (reappraisal, distraction and suppression) and had a normal sleep night. On Day 2, they were randomly assigned to the Sleep Control group (SC group: n = 26, 20.30 ± 1.71 years) or the Sleep Deprivation group (SD group: n = 27, 20.00 ± 1.71 years). After a well-rested sleep night (SC group) or 24-h sleep deprivation (SD group), the participants completed a computerized emotion regulation task on Day 3 morning, in which they were asked to regulate (reappraise, distract or suppress) or simply maintain the feeling towards unpleasant pictures, with electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. The amplitudes of LPP at the central-parietal area (CPz) were calculated. Results: A group (SC vs. SD) by condition (maintain vs. reappraise) interaction indicated that sleep deprivation significantly diminished the regulating effects of reappraisal on LPP amplitudes, F(1, 36) = 4.76, p = .036, 2 = .117. Another group by condition (maintain vs. distract) interaction suggested that the regulating effects of distraction on LPP was only marginally affected by sleep deprivation with a smaller effect size, F(1, 37) = 3.20, p = .082, 2 = .080. Suppression was ineffective in attenuating LPP in both groups, p > .05. Conclusion: The results suggest that sleep deprivation may compromise the effectiveness of two adaptive emotion regulation strategies (i.e. reappraisal and distraction), particularly the strategy of reappraisal. This study was the first to provide electrophysiological correlates of the influence of sleep loss on emotion regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


Zhang, J., Lau, E., & Hsiao, J. (2017, June). Influence of sleep deprivation on emotion regulation strategies: An event-related potential study. Paper presented at the SLEEP 2017, the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), Hynes Convention Center, Boston, USA.

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