Dr. Young's LabGender differences in the overnight regulation of anxious mood, negative affect, and positive affect.
Julie Kabat Friedman
Sixty paid volunteers, screened to exclude psychopathology, signed informed consent for a sleep study testing the mood regulatory effects of sleep on anxious mood. In addition, the study investigated if females are less efficient than males in reducing anxiety following sleep and if Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep variables are associated with mood regulation. In a sub-sample of twenty-nine subjects whose pre-sleep Profile of Mood States (POMS) tension/anxiety scores were equal or greater than 3, there was a significant effect of time (post-sleep scores were lower) and gender (males reduced anxiety more than females). However these reductions were not related to any REM sleep variables. One possible explanation of the findings is that there may be a diurnal variability of anxious mood and a gender difference in this variability. The failure to find any REM variables related to anxiety change may be due to some methodological weaknesses in the study. The number of subjects with measurable anxiety was small and the sample had a restricted in range in education. Also, self-report mood measures are subject to unknown biases. Subsequent studies should recruit a larger, less homogeneous sample and employ clinical ratings of anxiety.