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Diary Study: the Protective Role of Self-Compassion on Stress-Related Poor Sleep Quality

  • Yueqin Hu
  • Yuyin Wang
  • Yifang Sun
  • Javier Arteta-Garcia
  • Stephanie Purol


Two studies were designed to examine the role of self-compassion on sleep quality. One hundred and forty-two participants completed a one-time survey in which they reported their trait level self-compassion, sleep quality assessment and perceived stress over last month. Mediation analysis using regression and bootstrapping indicated that self-compassion was positively related to sleep quality assessment, and this relationship was mediated by perceived stress. Higher levels of self-compassion were associated with lower levels of perceived stress, and the latter were linked to better sleep. A 2-week diary study with a subsample of fifty-nine participants was followed to examine the effect of self-compassion on sleep outcomes within and between individual on a daily basis. Participants rated their stressor of the day before bed and sleep quality upon awakening. Multilevel models supported the positive effect of self-compassion on everyday sleep outcomes. Specifically, self-compassion buffered the negative effect of daily stressor on sleep latency. Experiencing stressful events during the day were associated with taking a longer time to fall asleep at night, except for participants with higher levels of self-compassion. Higher levels of self-compassion were also indirectly associated with a better mood and more alertness upon awakening. Self-compassion could benefit sleep quality both through the buffering effect and the indirect effect.


Self-compassion Sleep quality Stress Diary study Mediator Moderator 



We thank all the participants who participated in the study.

Author Contributions

YH: designed and executed the study, conducted data analyses, and wrote the paper. YW: designed and executed the study and wrote the paper. YS: collaborated with data collection. JA and SP: collaborated with data collection and the editing of the final manuscript.


This work was funded by the MOE (Ministry of Education) Project of Humanities and Social Science (16YJCZH107) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31700961).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Texas State University Human Institutional Review Board and the Department of Psychology of Sun Yat-sen University Human Subject Review Boards, as well as with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yueqin Hu
    • 1
  • Yuyin Wang
    • 2
  • Yifang Sun
    • 2
  • Javier Arteta-Garcia
    • 1
  • Stephanie Purol
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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