How sleep deprivation affects your performance

Sleep deprivation affects us much more than prior theories have suggested, say researchers, adding that it impacts place keeping - or, the ability to complete a series of steps without losing one's place, despite potential 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 added. For the study Published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, the researchers recruited 138 people to participate in the overnight sleep assessment; 77 stayed awake all night and 61 went home to sleep. 

All participants took two separate cognitive tasks in the evening: one that measured reaction time to a stimulus; the other measured a participant's ability to maintain their place in a series of steps without omitting or repeating a step - even after sporadic interruptions.  

The participants then repeated both tasks in the morning to see how sleep-deprivation affected their performance. After being interrupted there was a 15 per cent error rate in the evening and we saw that the error rate spiked to about 30 per cent for the sleep-deprived group the following morning. The rested participants' morning scores were similar to the night before.

-    IANS
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