donation
To request Mental Health
Services or to access Mental
Health Crisis Services Call:
1-800-375-4357

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Is Your Smartphone or Tablet an Injury Risk?How Safe Is It to Fly?Variety is Key for the Fittest AmericansFor Tracking Steps, Patients Stick With Phones, Not Wearable Devices: StudySocial Media Stokes Myths About Vaccines5 Expert Tips for Preventing Winter Sports AccidentsMany Americans Lack Knowledge, Not Desire, to Eat Plant-Based Diets'Couch Potato' Lifestyle Poses Danger to Women's Hearts5 Secrets to an Allergy-Free Valentine's DayRestful Romance: Smelling Your Lover's Shirt Can Help You SleepHow Does Social Media Shape Your Food Choices?AHA News: How a Happy Relationship Can Help Your HealthTexting While Walking Is Risky BusinessShovel That Snow, but Spare Your BackSpring Time Change Tied to More Fatal Car CrashesHealth Tip: Healthy Ways to Deal With SadnessEating Out: A Recipe for Poor Nutrition, Study FindsHealthy Living Helps Keep the Flu at BayNew Clues Show How Stress May Turn Your Hair GrayHealth Tip: Warning Signs of Drowsy DrivingAHA News: Can Social Media Be Good for Your Health?Sunscreen Chemicals Absorbed Into Body, Study FindsCould a Switch to Skim Milk Add Years to Your Life?Many Americans Are Inactive, With Southerners Faring WorseWhy Tidying Up Is Sometimes Harder Than ExpectedProbiotics: Don't Buy the Online HypePot-Using Drivers Still Impaired After the High Fades'Burnout' Could Raise Your Odds for A-fibHealth Tip: Healthier Ways to Use Social MediaMany Americans Sleep More in WinterProcessed Foods Are Making Americans ObeseSo Long, 98.6: Average Human Body Temperature Is DroppingHow Does Missed Sleep Affect Your Appetite?New Year's Resolutions Didn't Stick? Try a Monday ResetHealth Tip: Is Worrying Out of Control?Tips to Keep New Year's ResolutionsAHA News: Get Started on the Path to Better Health in the New YearYoga May Bring a Brain Boost, Review ShowsSome Solid Advice on New Year's Resolutions That Might StickFestive Foods Can Leave Those on Restricted Diets Out in the ColdGet Ready for the Sleepiest Day of the YearYour TV, Smartphone Screens May Send Toxins Into Your HomeHealth Tip: Resolutions for a Healthier New YearDo Your Heart a Favor: Bike, Walk to WorkRegular Exercise Cuts Odds for 7 Major CancersHow to Stay Fit When You're Traveling for Work or FunDespite Danger, Tanning Beds Still a Fixture in Many GymsAHA News: Are You Drinking Enough During Winter Months?Unhealthy Eating Habits Cost U.S. $50 Billion a Year: StudyHeart Risks in Your Genes? Be Sure to Get Your Zzzs
LinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Weight Loss

Sleep Deprivation a Big Drain on the Brain

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Nov 26th 2019

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- If you feel like you can't think straight after a sleepless night, new research suggests you are not imagining things.

The mental impacts of sleep deprivation are much more serious than previously believed, the study found.

"Our research showed that sleep deprivation doubles the odds of making placekeeping errors and triples the number of lapses in attention, which is startling," said study author Kimberly Fenn. She directs the Sleep and Learning Lab at Michigan State University.

The researchers describe placekeeping as following several steps to complete a task, despite interruptions.

"Sleep-deprived individuals need to exercise caution in absolutely everything that they do, and simply can't trust that they won't make costly errors. Oftentimes -- like when behind the wheel of a car -- these errors can have tragic consequences," Fenn said in a university news release.

In the study, 77 people stayed awake all night and 61 slept at home. Their ability to do two types of mental tasks were assessed in the evening and again the next morning.

One test assessed their reaction time to a stimulus and the other measured their placekeeping ability.

"After being interrupted there was a 15% error rate in the evening and we saw that the error rate spiked to about 30% for the sleep-deprived group the following morning," said co-author Michelle Stepan, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State. "The rested participants' morning scores were similar to the night before."

The researchers said this study is one of the largest of its kind and the first to assess how sleep deprivation impacts placekeeping.

"Our findings debunk a common theory that suggests that attention is the only cognitive function affected by sleep deprivation," Stepan said in the release.

"Some sleep-deprived people might be able to hold it together under routine tasks, like a doctor taking a patient's vitals," she noted. "But our results suggest that completing an activity that requires following multiple steps, such as a doctor completing a medical procedure, is much riskier under conditions of sleep deprivation."

There are some tasks people can do on auto-pilot that may not be affected by a lack of sleep, but "sleep deprivation causes widespread deficits across all facets of life," Fenn said.

The study was published Nov. 20 online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on sleep deprivation.