Facebook Pixel

When Sleep Suffers, So Does Decisiveness

Rate This
Insomnia related image

SATURDAY, Nov. 21 -- Sleep-deprived people may put themselves and others at risk when they need to make split-second decisions, U.S. researchers have found.

The study, which included 49 U.S. military cadets, looked at how sleep deprivation affected information-integration, a process that relies heavily on instantaneous, gut-feeling decisions.

"It's important to understand this domain of procedural learning because information-integration -- the fast and accurate strategy -- is critical in situations when soldiers need to make split-second decisions based about whether a potential target is an enemy soldier, a civilian or one of their own," Todd Maddox, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a university news release.

The ability to make split-second decisions is crucial in a number of other high-pressure professions, including firefighters and police officers, the study authors noted.

The cadets performed information-integration tasks twice -- once when they were well-rested and once while they were sleep-deprived. The results showed that moderate sleep deprivation can cause an overall immediate loss of information-integration thought processes.

Accuracy on the information-integration tasks declined by 2.4 percent (73.1 percent to 70.7 percent) when cadets were sleep-deprived, and improved by 4.3 percent (74 percent to 78.3 percent) when they were well-rested, the researchers found.

The study was published in the November issue of Sleep.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about sleep.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy


Get Email Updates

Insomnia Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!