Paper 3 Practice: Sleep and Happiness

Travis DixonAssessment (IB), Health Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation

It should come as no surprise that studies show that people who sleep better are happier.

The best way to prepare for Paper 3 is to do lots of practice. The study below is designed to replicate what you will see on Paper 3. 

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IB Psychology HL Paper 3 Practice

The stimulus material below is based on a study that investigates the relationships between sleep and life satisfaction.

Sleep might be one of the most important yet underrated aspects of our physical and mental health. Ness and Saksvik-Lehouiller conducted a study to see how sleep was connected with “life satisfaction.”

Life satisfaction can be defined as a type of happiness whereby someone “…. assesses the quality of their life by using their own criteria” (Shin and Johnson, 1978). In other words, it’s a measure of how happy someone is with the quality of their life. The aim of this study was to see if there was a relationship between life satisfaction and sleep quality, duration and variability.

Participants were invited to take part in the study through an email and an invitation on a closed Facebook event. Invitations were sent to 1665 participants at a range of Norwegian universities and colleges. 701 students responded to the invitation and chose to participate.

A majority (about 90%) of the participants were aged between 20-25 and 70% were female. Six students said they were still in high school, so their data was removed from the sample. The study was approved by the Norwegian social Science Data Service. The researchers gathered their data by having participants complete anonymous questionnaires about sleep habits and life satisfaction.

The results showed significant correlations between sleep variables and life satisfaction. For example, they found that “better sleep quality, longer mean sleep duration and less variability in sleep duration were all associated with greater life satisfaction.” However, some correlations were moderate to weak. For instance, although statistically significant, the correlation between life satisfaction and mean sleep duration was only 0.13.

These results support findings from previous studies that show the link between sleep and life satisfaction in college students. Maybe think again next time your staying up late on your phones because you think it makes you happy.

Ness, T. E. B., and Saksvik-Lehouillier, I. (2018). The Relationships between Life Satisfaction and Sleep Quality, Sleep Duration and Variability of Sleep in University Students. Journal of European Psychology Students, 9(1), 28–39, DOI: LINK

Answer all of the following three questions, referring to the stimulus material in your answers. Marks will be awarded for demonstration of knowledge and understanding of research methodology.

1a: Identify the method used and outline two characteristics of the method. [3]

1b: Describe the sampling method used in the study. [3]

1c: Suggest an alternative or additional research method giving one reason for your choice. [3]

2:Describe the ethical considerations that were applied in the study and explain if further ethical considerations could be applied.

3:Discuss the possibility of generalizing the findings of the study. [9]

More Paper 3 practice papers and mark schemes are available in the Qualitative Methods TSP.


Paper 3 Practice Sleep and Life Satisfaction Mark Scheme