ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Total Sleep Deprivation Studies

Updated on September 10, 2022
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.


Sleep Loss Effects on Brain

I have written various articles about sleep, but now there is a new study that shows what sleep loss does to your brain and cognition brain function. The Oxford dictionary defines cognition as “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.”

A 2014 sleep study stated 35% of American adults rated their sleep quality as poor or fair and 45% said they had trouble falling asleep. Another 53% state they have trouble staying asleep and 40% reported snoring was a problem.

Adequate sleep is considered to be the most important thing we can do for ourselves, that is more important than exercise and diet. When your body is asleep a vast amount of housekeeping is done, so your brain needs sleep more than your body does. One study said: “Sleep loss is no longer considered an emblem of productivity or success.” Chronically losing sleep will prevent you from being able to do essential work efficiently.

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

— Benjamin Franklin

Michigan State University Study

This first study was done by Michigan State University and it named the ‘effects of total sleep deprivation (DST)’. The researchers worked with 140 tested people who were well rested. They had 77 people stay awake all night in the lab and 63 people went home to sleep normally. The researchers then administered tests after this one night of sleep deprivation. The researchers were particularly interested in the subject’s ability to pay attention as this is necessary to perform multiple tasks.

The two tests were:

  1. The Psychomotor Vigilance Task measuring attention

  2. The UNRAVEL method “a measure of placekeeping, a higher-order process that involves memory operations and supports performance in a wide range of complex tasks”

They were tested in the evening, and they again the following morning. The sleep deprived people performed much worse on both tests. The UNRAVEL evening test had a 15% error rate but the sleep deprived had a 30% error rate. The rested group’s tests results were the same on both occasions.

In addition, the sleep deprived people had numerous lapses of attention. The placekeeping errors doubled and the lapses in attention tripled for the sleep deprived people. One of the researchers stated that not every task we attempt suffers from sleep deprivation, but many do in multiple areas. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a serious cognitive decline and dementia over the long term.


University of South Florida Study

The University of South Florida study surveyed 130 employees working in the information technology field. They also had to have at least one school-aged child to participate in the study. The subjects reported that 16 minutes less sleep than usual resulted in worse quality sleep, and they had more cognitive issues during the following day. Poor sleep resulted in increased stress, particularly when trying to balance work and home.

This study found empirical evidence as to why workplaces need to make more effort to promote their employee’s sleep. People that sleep well stay focused and on-task with fewer errors or even interpersonal conflicts. They also found that the consequences of less sleep was not as apparent when the employee had the next day off from work.

These Sleep Experts Explain How to Get the Best Rest

Does Weekend Extra Sleep Help?

It is possible to sleep more on the weekends to make up for lost sleep but the journal of Current Biology stated that weekend sleep puts people at risk for gaining weight. When people catch extra hours on the weekend they snack more than usual and also have an increased risk for diabetes.


Final Thoughts

When people are sleep-deprived they must exercise caution in everything they do because errors may occur at work and even when driving a motor vehicle. Errors can have severe consequences. Studies of adults and children with sleep deprivation has shown a development for some types of psychiatric disorders.

Some people need 8 hours of sleep and others might need 6 hours, so it is important to establish a routine of going to bed at the same time each night to determine how many hours of sleep you need. Try to find what works for you as some people feel good as early risers and others are night owls. Each person has to figure out what routine fits into their schedule, so they feel rested and they can be productive each day without too much stress.

What Would Happen if You Didn’t Sleep?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)