Sleep Affects Performance

Besides the connection between inadequate sleep and a number of major health problems, there is also substantial scientific evidence that sleep deprivation affects cognition and motor performance.  A recent study showed that people who were awake for up to 19 hours scored substantially worse on performance tests and alertness scales than those with a blood-alcohol level of .08 – the point of being legally drunk.  Some other studies have found:
  • After one night of total sleep deprivation, subjects scored significantly lower on tests of judgment, simple reaction time, explicit recall and inverse words reading
  • Free recall is sensitive to 24 hours of total sleep deprivation
  • Daytime alertness and memory are impaired by the loss of eight hours of sleep, especially when there is a marked drop in sleep over a few nights
  • Getting three, five or seven hours of sleep a night for seven consecutive nights can significantly impair alertness and motor performance