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Behav Sleep Med. 2009;7(3):136-63. doi: 10.1080/15402000902976671.

Failure to find executive function deficits following one night's total sleep deprivation in university students under naturalistic conditions.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Young adult male students participated in a naturalistic, group-design experiment to ascertain the effects of one night's total sleep deprivation (TSD) on performance of diverse executive function tasks presented as an extended, multitask battery. On the majority of component tasks in this battery, performance has been reported to be impaired following one night's TSD when tasks are administered in isolation. However, participants sleep deprived 35 to 39 hr showed few performance deficits among tests in this battery when compared with non-sleep-deprived controls. Sleep-deprived participants showed only poorer recognition memory and overconfidence in incorrect temporal judgments. Behavioral and physiological adaptation to chronically sleep-restricting lifestyles may confer resistance to the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation in high-functioning young adults.

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