The effect of one night's sleep deprivation on adolescent neurobehavioral performance

Mia Louca, Michelle A. Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To investigate the effects of one night's sleep deprivation on neurobehavioral functioning in adolescents.

Design: Participants completed a neurobehavioral test battery measuring sustained attention, reaction speed, cognitive processing speed, sleepiness, and fatigue every 2 h during wakefulness. Baseline performance (defined as those test bouts between 09: 00 and 19: 00 on days 2 and 3, following two 10-h sleep opportunities) were compared to performance at the same clock time the day following total sleep deprivation.

Setting: The sleep laboratory at the Centre for Sleep Research.

Participants: Twelve healthy adolescents (6 male), aged 14-18 years (mean = 16.17, standard deviation = 0.83).

Measurements and Results: Sustained attention, reaction speed, cognitive processing speed, and subjective sleepiness were all significantly worse following one night without sleep than following 10-h sleep opportunities (all main effects of day, P < 0.05). Sleep deprivation led to increased variability on objective performance measures. There were between-subjects differences in response to sleep loss that were taskspecific, suggesting that adolescents may not only vary in terms of the degree to which they are affected by sleep loss but also the domains in which they are affected.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that one night of total sleep deprivation has significant deleterious effects upon neurobehavioral performance and subjective sleepiness. These factors impair daytime functioning in adolescents, leaving them at greater risk of poor academic and social functioning and accidents and injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1799-1807
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Sleep
  • Sleepiness


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