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Clin Neurophysiol. 2015 Mar;126(3):549-57. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.06.026. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

An examination of the association between chronic sleep restriction and electrocortical arousal in college students.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA. Electronic address: Sadie.witkowski@utexas.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
3
School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, United States.
4
Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, United States Military Academy, United States.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The deleterious neurocognitive effects of laboratory-controlled short-term sleep deprivation are well-known. The present study investigated neurocognitive changes arising from chronic sleep restriction outside the laboratory.

METHODS:

Sleep patterns of 24 undergraduates were tracked via actigraphy across a 15-week semester. At the semester beginning, at a midpoint, and a week before finals, students performed the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) and cortical arousal was measured via event-related potentials (ERP) and resting state electroencephalography (EEG).

RESULTS:

Average daily sleep decreased between Session 1 and Sessions 2 and 3. Calculated circadian rhythm measures indicated nighttime movement increased and sleep quality decreased from Sessions 1 and 2 to Session 3. Parallel to the sleep/activity measures, PVT reaction time increased between Session 1 and Sessions 2 and 3 and resting state alpha EEG reactivity magnitude and PVT-evoked P3 ERP amplitude decreased between Session 1 and Sessions 2 and 3. Cross-sectional regressions showed PVT reaction time was negatively associated with average daily sleep, alpha reactivity, and P3 changes; sleep/circadian measures were associated with alpha reactivity and/or P3 changes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Small, but persistent sleep deficits reduced cortical arousal and impaired vigilant attention.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Chronic sleep restriction impacts neurocognition in a manner similar to laboratory controlled sleep deprivation.

KEYWORDS:

Actigraphy; Chronic sleep restriction; Circadian rhythms; EEG; ERP; PVT

PMID:
25043966
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2014.06.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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