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J Sleep Res. 2013 Jun;22(3):273-81. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12013. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

Effects of cumulative sleep restriction on self-perceptions while multitasking.

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Centre of Expertise for Human Factors at Work, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.


This study addressed a rarely studied question of self-perceptions of performance and overall functional state during cumulative sleep restriction and the ensuing recovery period. Twenty healthy male volunteers, aged 19-29 years, were divided into a sleep restriction group (n = 13) and a control group (n = 7). On the first 2 nights, the sleep restriction group had an 8-h sleep opportunity that was restricted to 4 h for the next 5 nights, and then restored to 8 h for the last 2 nights. The control group had an 8-h sleep opportunity each night. Each day participants accomplished 50-min multitask sessions and gave self-ratings in their connection. Similar to our previous findings on multitasking performance, self-perceived task performance, sleepiness and mental fatigue impaired during the sleep restriction and returned to baseline during the recovery phase. Self-perceived mental effort, tension, task difficulty and task pace showed no sensitivity to the sleep restriction. We concluded that sleep-restricted individuals can probably make use of some self-perceptions when assessing their 'fitness for duty'. However, at the individual level these measures seem to be inaccurate in revealing actual performance impairments.

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