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Mismatch between subjective alertness and objective performance under sleep restriction is greatest during the biological night

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Xuan Zhou, Charli SargentCharli Sargent, David Darwent, D Kennaway, Gregory RoachGregory Roach, Raymond Matthews, Sally FergusonSally Ferguson
Subjective alertness may provide some insight into reduced performance capacity under conditions suboptimal to neurobehavioural functioning, yet the accuracy of this insight remains unclear. We therefore investigated whether subjective alertness reflects the full extent of neurobehavioural impairment during the biological night when sleep is restricted. Twenty-seven young healthy males were assigned to a standard forced desynchrony (FD) protocol (n = 13; 9.33 h in bed ⁄ 28 h day) or a sleeprestricted FD protocol (n = 14; 4.67 h in bed ⁄ 28 h day). For both protocols, subjective alertness and neurobehavioural performance were measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT), respectively; both measures were given at various combinations of prior wake and circadian phase (biological night versus biological day). Scores on both measures were standardized within individuals against their respective baseline average and standard deviation. We found that PVT performance and VAS rating deviated from their respective baseline to a similar extent during the standard protocol, yet a greater deviation was observed for PVT performance than VAS rating during the sleep-restricted protocol. The discrepancy between the two measures during the sleep-restricted protocol was particularly prominent during the biological night compared with the biological day. Thus, subjective alertness did not reflect the full extent of performance impairment when sleep was restricted, particularly during the biological night. Given that subjective alertness is often the only available information upon which performance capacity is assessed, our results suggest that sleep-restricted individuals are likely to underestimate neurobehavioural impairment, particularly during the biological night.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

21

Start Page

40

End Page

49

Number of Pages

10

eISSN

1365-2869

ISSN

0962-1105

Location

United Kingdom

Publisher

Wiley Blackwell

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Centre for Sleep Research; Not affiliated to a Research Institute; Robinson Institute;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Journal of sleep research.