Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Seminars in Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.79). 04/2005; 25(1):117-29. DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-867080
Source: PubMed


Deficits in daytime performance due to sleep loss are experienced universally and associated with a significant social, financial, and human cost. Microsleeps, sleep attacks, and lapses in cognition increase with sleep loss as a function of state instability. Sleep deprivation studies repeatedly show a variable (negative) impact on mood, cognitive performance, and motor function due to an increasing sleep propensity and destabilization of the wake state. Specific neurocognitive domains including executive attention, working memory, and divergent higher cognitive functions are particularly vulnerable to sleep loss. In humans, functional metabolic and neurophysiological studies demonstrate that neural systems involved in executive function (i.e., prefrontal cortex) are more susceptible to sleep deprivation in some individuals than others. Recent chronic partial sleep deprivation experiments, which more closely replicate sleep loss in society, demonstrate that profound neurocognitive deficits accumulate over time in the face of subjective adaptation to the sensation of sleepiness. Sleep deprivation associated with disease-related sleep fragmentation (i.e., sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome) also results in neurocognitive performance decrements similar to those seen in sleep restriction studies. Performance deficits associated with sleep disorders are often viewed as a simple function of disease severity; however, recent experiments suggest that individual vulnerability to sleep loss may play a more critical role than previously thought.

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Available from: Jeffrey S Durmer, Aug 29, 2015
    • "In support of this proposition, several field and lab studies found that sleep deprivation led to a reduction in self-regulatory resources, both for behavioral measures and survey measures of self-regulation (Barnes, Schaubroeck, Huth, & Ghumman, 2011; Christian & Ellis, 2011; Lanaj, Johnson, & Barnes, 2014; Welsh, Ellis, Christian, & Mai, 2014). Research on neurophysiological correlates of sleep deprivation have supported the link between sleep and self-regulation: Studies consistently have shown that sleep deprivation negatively affects cortical activity, particularly in the prefrontal cortex and thalamus (e.g., Thomas et al., 2000), which have been linked to self-regulation (Durmer & Dinges, 2005; Heatherton & Wagner, 2011). So far, most studies have focused on sleep deprivation and self-regulation. "
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    • "Changes in mood and RTs due to sleep deprivation could not explain our results on emotional facial identification. Impaired vigilance (see Basner & Dinges, 2011; Goel et al., 2009) and changes in affect were consistent with previous sleep deprivation studies (Durmer & Dinges, 2005; Schnell et al., 2014; Talbot et al., 2010), but did not parallel alteration in ratings of disgust in the facial stimuli, as could have been the case (see Schröder, 2010). The mean and SD RTs of the PVT and ratings of Hostility showed circadian effects, whereas ratings of sleepiness and Joviality were only susceptible to homeostatic sleep drive. "
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