Effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students

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Title: Effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students
Author(s): Patrick, Y
Lee, A
Raha, O
Pillai, K
Gupta, S
Sethi, S
Mukeshimana, F
Gerard, L
Moghal, MU
Saleh, SN
Smith, SF
Morrell, MJ
Moss, J
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Sleep deprivation is common among university students, and has been associated with poor academic performance and physical dysfunction. However, current literature has a narrow focus in regard to domains tested, this study aimed to investigate the effects of a night of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in students. A randomized controlled crossover study was carried out with 64 participants [58% male (n = 37); 22 ± 4 years old (mean ± SD)]. Participants were randomized into two conditions: normal sleep or one night sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation was monitored using an online time-stamped questionnaire at 45 min intervals, completed in the participants’ homes. The outcomes were cognitive: working memory (Simon game© derivative), executive function (Stroop test); and physical: reaction time (ruler drop testing), lung function (spirometry), rate of perceived exertion, heart rate, and blood pressure during submaximal cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Data were analysed using paired two-tailed T tests and MANOVA. Reaction time and systolic blood pressure post-exercise were significantly increased following sleep deprivation (mean ± SD change: reaction time: 0.15 ± 0.04 s, p = 0.003; systolic BP: 6 ± 17 mmHg, p = 0.012). No significant differences were found in other variables. Reaction time and vascular response to exercise were significantly affected by sleep deprivation in university students, whilst other cognitive and cardiopulmonary measures showed no significant changes. These findings indicate that acute sleep deprivation can have an impact on physical but not cognitive ability in young healthy university students. Further research is needed to identify mechanisms of change and the impact of longer term sleep deprivation in this population.
Publication Date: 13-Apr-2017
Date of Acceptance: 23-Mar-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/49908
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s41105-017-0099-5
ISSN: 1446-9235
Publisher: Wiley
Start Page: 217
End Page: 225
Journal / Book Title: Sleep and Biological Rhythms
Volume: 15
Issue: 3
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Clinical Neurology
Neurosciences & Neurology
Acute sleep deprivation
Reaction time
Submaximal exercise
Acute sleep deprivation
Reaction time
Submaximal exercise
1101 Medical Biochemistry And Metabolomics
1109 Neurosciences
1701 Psychology
Neurology & Neurosurgery
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:National Heart and Lung Institute
Airway Disease
Faculty of Medicine

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