Does alexithymia moderate the relation between stress and general sleep experiences?

Dana Alfasi, Nirit Soffer-Dudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A tendency for experiencing unusual dream and sleep-wake transition phenomena (e.g., recurrent dreams, hypnagogic hallucinations, and confusion upon awakening), labeled general sleep experiences (GSEs), is linked with stress as well as psychological distress, explicit as well as covert. We hypothesized that alexithymia may moderate the relationship between stress and GSEs. Undergraduate students (N = 187) completed online questionnaires; Three months later, n = 78 of them reported perceived stress and dreaming each day for 14 days. Regression analyses for trait data and multilevel modeling for daily diary data both revealed a pattern of two competing alexithymic mechanisms: difficulty in identifying feelings was related to increased GSEs, whereas externally-oriented thinking was related to decreased GSEs. As hypothesized, a cross-level interaction was found: daily stress predicted daily GSEs of the following night, only among those who reported difficulty identifying their emotions. It seems that those who experience GSEs following stress, tend to be internally-oriented (i.e., notice their inner experiences), yet find it difficult to understand and identify those experiences. GSEs seem to represent a nocturnal manifestation of unprocessed emotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Alexithymia
  • Daily diary
  • Dissociation
  • Dreaming
  • Sleep experiences
  • Sleep quality
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Does alexithymia moderate the relation between stress and general sleep experiences?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this