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Sleep Health Journal Article Highlights Association between Sociopolitical Events and Sleep

For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephanie Kohn


Sleep Health Journal Article Highlights Association between Sociopolitical Events and Sleep


Washington, D.C. (November 1, 2022): New research findings published in the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep Health Journal show how major sociopolitical events can have global impacts on sleep that interact with significant fluctuations in public mood and well-being.

How the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Impacted Sleep and its Relationship to Public Mood and Alcohol Consumption (Cunningham, Fields, Denis, Bottary, Stickgold, and Kensinger) analyzed the 2020 U.S. presidential election’s significant effects on sleep and emotional well-being.

Findings showed that divisive political events negatively influenced a wide variety of factors for public mood. Following the 2020 U.S. election, participants experienced reduced sleep quantity and efficiency coupled with heightened stress, negative affect and alcohol use. These results were also observed at a lower level in non-U.S. participants.

“It is unlikely that these findings will come as shock to many given the political turbulence of the last several years. Our results likely mirror many of our own experiences surrounding these types of highly stressful, divisive events, and we felt this was an opportunity to scientifically validate these assumptions,” said Dr. Tony Cunningham, the primary author on this work. “The 2020 Election took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the chronic stress that we experienced during that time, the acute stress of the election still had clear impacts on mood and sleep. As such, research exploring the impact of the pandemic should also consider other overlapping, acute stressors that may exert their own influence to avoid inappropriately attributing effects to the pandemic.”

“Experiencing stress can affect not only your sleep health, but also your overall health and well-being,” said NSF Board Chair, Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, MD, PhD. “There are small things you can do during the day and night to make a big difference in your sleep health, ranging from regular exercise and creating a sleep-friendly environment, to help you get the quality sleep you need,” added Oyegbile-Chidi.

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About the National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well- being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice.


About Sleep Health®: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation

The landmark, award-winning peer-reviewed journal Sleep Health publishes the latest studies on the cross-section of sleep’s role in population health and the social sciences from global, multidisciplinary perspectives.