An exploration of employee dreams: The dream-based overnight carryover of emotional experiences at work Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: We sought to explore the manner in which daily challenge and hindrance stressors at work may be associated with mood the next day, through the mediating mechanisms of presleep rumination and moods experienced while asleep during dreams. METHODS: A daily diary study in which 94 adults with full-time jobs completed 2 surveys per day for 2 work weeks. Each morning, participants reported the degree to which they engaged in rumination before sleep the previous night, the affective tone of their dreams, and their mood at that moment. Each evening participants reported their experiences of challenge and hindrance stressors at work that day. RESULTS: Hindrance stressors were positively related to next-morning negative affect via the effects of rumination and negative affect in dreams. Challenge stressors negatively related to positive affect in the morning, via rumination and lowered positive affect in dreams. These results occurred above and beyond the effects of sleep quantity, sleep quality, and several other time-based control variables. CONCLUSIONS: Dreams play an important role in how work stressors which are experienced in a given workday are associated with mood the next morning.

published proceedings

  • Sleep Health

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Barnes, C. M., Watkins, T., & Klotz, A.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Barnes, Christopher M||Watkins, Trevor||Klotz, Anthony

publication date

  • April 2021