Study to Look at the Relationship Between Difficult Childhood Events and Sleep Quality in Adulthood

Jan 04 2019 Posted: 10:08 GMT

Researchers from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are carrying out an online study on the relationship between difficult events experienced during childhood and sleep quality in adulthood. Adults aged over 18 years are invited to take part in the study. It is hoped that the results of the research will help professionals and researchers to understand the factors that play a part in how people manage childhood stress and poor sleep.

The results of recent research have shown a link between difficult events that people experience as children and the quality of their sleep as adults. Less is known about what factors play a part in this relationship and why some people who have experienced painful childhood events or feelings may not have poor sleep as adults. Part of the study will look at how ‘mindful people are of the present’ and their coping styles. 

The study is being carried out by the principal investigator Andrea Grehan and led by Dr Jonathan Egan and Professor Brian McGuire at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway. 

Andrea Grehan, said: “Sleep difficulties are common in the general population, as are distressing childhood experiences. We want to examine the relationship between childhood events and sleep in adulthood by looking at whether being mindful or accepting, and whether a personal coping style, change the impact of such childhood experiences on sleep quality in adulthood. We hope that the results will guide both future research and clinical practice.” 

Dr Jonathan Egan, who is also a Chartered Clinical and Chartered Health Psychologist at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited about exploring all aspects of how past events and current wellbeing collide in the architecture of a person’s sleep. Previously we have linked how sleep paralysis is affected by a person’s personality and life events, we are now looking at the whole sleep cycle and what a large group of hundreds if not thousands of peoples’ life experiences can tell us.”

For those aged over 18 years who wish to participate in the study please complete the online survey form, at: or contact Andrea Grehan at


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