What’s The Link Between Sleep And Personality?

3 min read

Last Modified 1 June 2023 First Added 13 September 2017

By Gemma Curtis

Your personality influences your behaviour, temperament and reactions. Even if you’re super laid back in the day, you may still have sleep troubles at night. If you suffer from insomnia, it can sometimes feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. It’s often difficult to pin down exactly why some people struggle to sleep so much as there are so many factors to consider. So, why is sleep and personality connected?

A changed person

We’ve all woken up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning, but studies have shown that consistent sleep deprivation can actually influence your personality. Even one night of disturbed sleep can make you less able to control your emotions according to a research carried out at Tel Aviv University. They concluded that when we lose sleep, our brain cannot decipher between what’s important and what isn’t. It means we take take trivial things to heart when we would usually ignore them.

This is because the part of the brain responsible for emotions – the amygdala – is impaired when our sleep is ruined. It becomes disconnected from the area of the brain that is partially responsible for decision making – the medial prefrontal cortex. The disconnection of the two makes it very difficult to regulate our feelings. So, even the most chilled person could become more moody after a bad night’s sleep.

Man with insomnia

Types of personality and sleep

A 2017 study recently published in Brain Sciences investigated the relationship between insomnia and personality type. They tested 2,089 participants with a questionnaire that deciphered their personality traits and the severity of their insomnia. The participants were then sorted into personalities: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness and neuroticism.

The research showed that neuroticism had the strongest links to the severity of insomnia. Unsurprisingly, people with a neurotic personality type are prone to depression, anxiety, mood swings and emotional instability. The study also showed that neurotic participants were more likely to have their lives negatively affected by insomnia and have overall sleep troubles including difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep and waking up early.

People with a highly conscientious personality reported trouble staying asleep but said this did not affect their daily lives. Again, this is understandable as conscientious people are planners, self-disciplined and attentive.

Openness and agreeableness were somewhat related to insomnia severity but extroversion had no correlation in this study.

Counselling session

So, if you fall into the neurotic or conscientious personality brackets, it’s likely that you are more vulnerable to insomnia than others. The research also concluded that understanding how personality affects sleep could be a huge step forward for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It’s thought that it could help the way therapists approach individuals based on reactions and behaviours usually associated with their personality.

Read more: What Is Insomnia & Can You Cure It?

Dealing with bad sleep

If you’re sick of losing your forty winks and need a solution, don’t panic. There are plenty of ways you can get your sleep back on track.

Check out the Bedtime Yoga Chart to get yourself into a calm state of mind before bed. Alternatively, use these 15 Sleep Relaxation Techniques to wind down and prepare your body to drift off.

We hope these tips help you to have a better-quality sleep. Tell us your own stories in the comments.

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