Hostility linked to poor sleep quality

By Lucy Piper, Senior medwireNews Reporter

People with high levels of hostility are like to have poor sleep quality, suggests research showing a robust link between the two features.

"Confirming the robust relationship between poor sleep and hostility would have several important treatment implications for preventing health problems," say Kounosuke Tsuchiyama and colleagues, from Oita University Faculty of Medicine in Japan.

It might be that some psychological and behavioral approaches used to treat sleep problems could also reduce hostility, they explain.

The researchers used the Cook-Medley hostility scale to measure hostility in 61 healthy individuals (average age 27.3 years). Their subjective sleep quality was assessed according to the global score of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQIG), and their objective sleep quality through the use of actigraphy.

The average PSQIG and Cook-Medley hostility scores were 4.98 and 15.8, respectively. These scores were significantly and positively associated, whereas neither score was associated with objective sleep variables.

Of the seven PSQI components, poor sleep quality, sleep quantity, and worsened daytime dysfunction were particularly associated with hostility, the researchers note, whereas quantitative variables such as sleep latency, sleep duration, and habitual sleep efficiency, as well as measures related to sleep disturbance and use of sleep medications were not.

"It is plausible that perception of sleep and consequences related to daily functioning are more related to hostility than are quantitative sleep variables," Tsuchiyama and team note.

Although the mechanisms underlying the link between increased hostility and sleep problems are unclear, Tsuchiyama and team suggest that one possible explanation is "the powerful physiological hyperarousal that follows hostility." Such processes may play a role in the pathophysiology of insomnia, they explain.

The team now calls for prospective studies to reveal the direction of causality between hostility and sleep variables.

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