A Systematic Examination of the Relation Between Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Sleeping Pattern

01 January 2013 → 31 December 2018
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Biological and physiological psychology
    • Developmental psychology and ageing
    • General psychology
    • Other psychology and cognitive sciences
sleep psychological analysis
Project description

Human beings need sufficient and good quality of sleep to replenish their physical resources (Siegel, 2005; Moorcroft, 2005). Yet, as all of us have experienced, there is substantial variability in our daily sleeping pattern. Herein, we propose that psychological factors, in particular the frustration versus satisfaction of
psychological needs, contribute to this variability in sleeping pattern. To date, different psychologists have independently studied physical and psychological needs, but little research has focused on the interplay between both. The present research aims to study reciprocal relations between the satisfaction versus frustration of psychological needs for autonomy (i.e., experiencing a sense of freedom), competence (i.e.,
experiencing a sense of effectiveness) and relatedness (i.e., experiencing interpersonal closeness), as conceived within Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000; Vansteenkiste, Niemiec, & Soenens, 2010), and the satisfaction of the need for physical rest. A series of cross-sectional, diary and experimental studies is proposed to examine whether psychological need satisfaction is implicated in sleeping pattern, both among people non-at risk and people at-risk for a poor sleeping pattern (i.e., HIV-,
CFS-, and insomnia-patients and shift workers). Moreover, we investigate whether perceived stress can explain the hypothesized relation between psychological need satisfaction and sleeping pattern and whether these relations would be, respectively, amplified and attenuated by suppressive emotion regulation and mindfulness. Finally, by examining whether changes in need satisfaction can account for improvements in sleeping pattern via a cognitive-behavioral therapy program, we hope to show that need satisfaction represents a key process to be addressed during therapy.