Despite a long history of interest in emotion regulation as well as in the mechanisms that regulate sleep, the relationship between emotion regulation and sleep is not yet well understood. The present study investigated whether "an experiential approach"-defined by coping through affectively acknowledging, understanding, and expressing actual emotional experience and affective feeling about a situation-compared with a "cognitive analytical approach"-defined by the cognitive analysis of the causes, meanings and implications of the situation for the own self-would buffer the impact of an emotional failure experience on (1) emotional experience and (2) sleep structure assessed by EEG polysomnography. Twenty-eight healthy volunteers participated in this study. A direct comparison of the two emotion regulation strategies revealed that participants who were instructed to apply an experiential approach showed less fragmentation of sleep than participants who were instructed to apply an analytical approach. The use of an experiential approach resulted in a longer sleep time, higher sleep efficiency, fewer awakenings, less % time awake, and fewer minutes wake after sleep onset. Implications of the differential effects of these two forms of emotion regulation on sleep are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).