Acute sleep loss induces signs of visual discomfort in young men

Olga Dyakova, Frida H. Rångtell, Xiao Tan, Karin Nordström, Christian Benedict

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    28 Downloads (Pure)


    Acute sleep loss influences visual processes in humans, such as recognizing facial emotions. However, to the best of our knowledge, no study till date has examined whether acute sleep loss alters visual comfort when looking at images. One image statistic that can be used to investigate the level of visual comfort experienced under visual encoding is the slope of the amplitude spectrum, also referred to as the slope constant. The slope constant describes the spatial distribution of pixel intensities and deviations from the natural slope constant can induce visual discomfort. In the present counterbalanced crossover design study, 11 young men with normal or corrected-to-normal vision participated in two experimental conditions: one night of sleep loss and one night of sleep. In the morning after each intervention, subjects performed a computerized psychophysics task. Specifically, they were required to adjust the slope constant of images depicting natural landscapes and close-ups with a randomly chosen initial slope constant until they perceived each image as most natural looking. Subjects also rated the pleasantness of each selected image. Our analysis showed that following sleep loss, higher slope constants were perceived as most natural looking when viewing images of natural landscapes. Images with a higher slope constant are generally perceived as blurrier. The selected images were also rated as less pleasant after sleep loss. No such differences between the experimental conditions were noted for images of close-ups. The results suggest that sleep loss induces signs of visual discomfort in young men. Possible implications of these findings are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12837
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Sleep Research
    Issue number6
    Early online date2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


    • aesthetical pleasantness
    • amplitude spectrum
    • natural scene statistics
    • psychophysics
    • total sleep deprivation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Acute sleep loss induces signs of visual discomfort in young men'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this