Effects of an afternoon nap on nighttime alertness and performance in long-haul drivers

Cornell University, Итак, New York, United States
Accident Analysis & Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.87). 12/2002; 34(6):825-34. DOI: 10.1016/S0001-4575(01)00089-6
Source: PubMed


The effects of an afternoon nap on alertness and psychomotor performance were assessed during a simulated night shift. After a night of partial sleep restriction, eight professional long-haul drivers either slept (nap condition) or engaged in sedentary activities (no-nap condition) from 14:00 to 17:00 h. Alertness and performance testing sessions were conducted at 12:00 (pre-nap baseline), 24:00, 02:30, 05:00 and 07:30 h, and followed 2-h runs in a driving simulator. In the nap condition, the subjects showed lower subjective sleepiness and fatigue, as measured by visual analog scales, and faster reaction times and less variability on psychomotor performance tasks. Electrophysiological indices of arousal during the driving runs also reflected the beneficial effects of the afternoon nap, with lower spectral activity in the theta (4-7.75 Hz), alpha (8-11.75 Hz) and fast theta-slow alpha (6-9.75 Hz) frequency bands of the electroencephalogram, indicating higher arousal levels. Thus, a 3-h napping opportunity ending at 17:00 h improved significantly several indices of alertness and performance measured 7-14 h later.

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    • "Nap could function in managing sleep deprivation and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) due to interfered circadian cycle (Verrier and Josephson 2009). The midday nap could function in recovering negative physical and psychological symptoms due to interfered night sleep (Bonnefond et al. 2001; Macchi et al. 2002) or narcolepsy (Takahashi 2003). "
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    • "Several researchers indicated a relationship between cognitive task length and response time. Firstly, Levitt and Gutin (1971) found a non-monotonic effect on reaction time while Macchi et al. (2002) found a positive relationship between response time and cognitive task length; Furthermore, Boksem et al. (2005) found a mixed relationship based on post error responses which was negative and post correct responses which was positive after either a medium or longhaul physical task performance. "
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