Brand, Serge, Gerber, Markus, Kalak, Nadeem, Kirov, Roumen, Lemola, Sakari, Clough, Peter J., Pühse, Uwe and Holsboer-Trachsler, Edith (2014) Adolescents With Greater Mental Toughness Show Higher Sleep Efficiency, More Deep Sleep and Fewer Awakenings After Sleep Onset. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54 (1). pp. 109-113. ISSN 1054-139X


Mental toughness (MT) is understood as the display of confidence, commitment, challenge, and control. Mental toughness is associated with resilience against stress. However, research has not yet focused on the relation between MT and objective sleep. The aim of the present study was therefore to explore the extent to which greater MT is associated with objectively assessed sleep among adolescents.


A total of 92 adolescents (35% females; mean age, 18.92 years) completed the Mental Toughness Questionnaire. Participants were split into groups of high and low mental toughness. Objective sleep was recorded via sleep electroencephalograms and subjective sleep was assessed via a questionnaire.


Compared with participants with low MT, participants with high MT had higher sleep efficiency, a lower number of awakenings after sleep onset, less light sleep, and more deep sleep. They also reported lower daytime sleepiness.


Adolescents reporting higher MT also had objectively better sleep, as recorded via sleep electroencephalograms. A bidirectional association between MT and sleep seems likely; therefore, among adolescence, improving sleep should increase MT, and improving MT should increase sleep.

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