The effect of daytime nap on emotional perception in individuals with insomnia

Kristy Nga Ting LAU, Sabrina Ka Po TONG, Esther Yuet Ying LAU

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Background: Previous research found that individuals with insomnia would have altered intensity ratings of emotional expressions. While an experimental study showed that an intervening nap could recalibrate the emotional reactivity to emotional expressions in individuals with normal sleep-wake rhythm, it remained unclear whether a nap could affect the intensity ratings to emotional expressions in individuals with insomnia. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of nap on emotional perception of faces of varied intensity in insomnia individuals.
Methods: Thirty-six university students assessed by the Brief Insomnia Questionnaire. Seventeen insomnia participants (mean age=19.85, SD=1.55) and nineteen non-insomnia participants (mean age=20.02, SD=1.5) performed a facial recognition task, in which they rated intensity of happy, sad, fear, angry and neutral faces across intensity spectrum, before and after a 90-minute daytime nap or wakefulness.
Analysis: Two way Analyses of variance (ANOVA) with group (insomnia, control) and condition (nap, wake) as between-subject variables were conducted to compare the changes in intensity ratings.
Result and Conclusion: Results showed that across the day, individuals with insomnia had reduced intensity rating for moderately positive (happy) faces[F(1,30)=4.199, p=.049] and heightened intensity ratings for moderately negative faces including sadness [F(1,30) = 4.957, p=.034], fear[F(1,30)=8.848, p=.006] and anger[F(1,30)=5.123, p=.031], when compared to controls. In addition, our findings showed that daytime nap modulated emotional perception by reducing intensity ratings for sad [F(1,30) = 4.846, p=.036]and angry faces[F(1,30)=4.693, p=.038] in both individuals with or without insomnia. The study first demonstrated that socio-emotional processing of individuals with insomnia was not static across the day but became negative progressively. This study also provided the first evidence that daytime nap modulated the emotional perception among individuals with insomnia. Copyright © 2016 The 4th International Pediatric Sleep Association Congress.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
EventThe 4th International Pediatric Sleep Association Congress - Taipei International Convention Center, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 10 Mar 201613 Mar 2016


ConferenceThe 4th International Pediatric Sleep Association Congress
Abbreviated title4th IPSA Congress
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


Lau, K. N. T., Tong, S. K. P., & Lau, E. Y. Y. (2016, March). The effect of daytime nap on emotional perception in individuals with insomnia. Paper presented at The 4th International Pediatric Sleep Association Congress, Taipei International Convention Center (TICC), Taipei, Taiwan.


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