Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance

Department of Psychology, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland.
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment (Impact Factor: 1.74). 11/2007; 3(5):553-67.
Source: PubMed


Today, prolonged wakefulness is a widespread phenomenon. Nevertheless, in the field of sleep and wakefulness, several unanswered questions remain. Prolonged wakefulness can be due to acute total sleep deprivation (SD) or to chronic partial sleep restriction. Although the latter is more common in everyday life, the effects of total SD have been examined more thoroughly. Both total and partial SD induce adverse changes in cognitive performance. First and foremost, total SD impairs attention and working memory, but it also affects other functions, such as long-term memory and decision-making. Partial SD is found to influence attention, especially vigilance. Studies on its effects on more demanding cognitive functions are lacking. Coping with SD depends on several factors, especially aging and gender. Also interindividual differences in responses are substantial. In addition to coping with SD, recovering from it also deserves attention. Cognitive recovery processes, although insufficiently studied, seem to be more demanding in partial sleep restriction than in total SD.


Available from: Paula Salo
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    • "The correction formula for sleep debt applied to the MSFsc indicator (Roenneberg et al. 2007) assumes that on free days people, in a linear manner, catch up the exact number of hours of sleep lost during workdays, by recovery oversleeping. This, however, seems not be the mechanism, as people recover from sleep debt by prolonging their sleep only to some extent (much less than the number of hours of sleep loss) due to increased sleep efficiency of recovery sleep (Herscovitch & Broughton 1981; Van Dongen et al. 2003; Alhola & Polo-Kantola 2007). "
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    • "What is more, scaling the amount of time available a day at the expense of sleep is ineffective. Sleep deprivation has been proven to affect cognitive functions [20] [2] and subsequently memory consolidation and recall [35] [3] [38]. Moreover, such deprivation may cause serious health problems [12] [6] [27]. "
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    • "associated with chronic sleep deficiency and disruption (Ohayon et al., 2002), which further exacerbates cognitive impairment (Cohen et al., 2010), including those skills required to operate a motor vehicle safely (Barger et al., 2005; Lyznicki et al., 1998; Philip et al., 2003). Sleepiness impairs multiple neurobehavioral domains, including sustained attention or vigilance, and also speed and accuracy, working and short-term memory, and reaction time (Alhola and Polo-Kantola, 2007; Bartel et al., 2004; Dinges et al., 1997; Philip et al., 2003) to a degree comparable with alcohol intoxication (Dawson and Reid, 1997). Sleep deficiency increases instances of lane drifting, slows reaction time to on-road events, and increases unintentional changes in speed and jerking motions of the wheel (Lenné et al., 1998; Philip et al., 2005). "
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