MSU Study: sleep aids in ability to complete tasks

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East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State University research shows that not getting enough sleep every night affects us more than we think it does.

The study focused on how sleep deprivation impacts placekeeping, which is the ability to complete a series of steps without losing one’s place, despite potential interruptions.

This study is a continuation of past MSU research that examined how lack of sleep impacts the ability to follow a procedure and maintain attention.

“Our research showed that sleep deprivation doubles the odds of making placekeeping errors and triples the number of lapses in attention, which is startling,” Fenn said. “Sleep-deprived individuals need to exercise caution in absolutely everything that they do, and simply can’t trust that they won’t make costly errors. Oftentimes – like when behind the wheel of a car – these errors can have tragic consequences.”

The study observed 138 people in which 77 pulled all-nighters and 61 participants went home to sleep.

Participants took two tests in the evening, one that measured their reaction times to a stimulus and the other that measured a persons’s ability to maintain their place in a series of steps without omitting or repeating a step after several interruptions.

The same two tests were repeated in the morning.

Researchers found that after an interruption, there was a 15% error rate in the evening and in the morning, those who had pulled all-nighters had an error rate of 30%.

To read the full study, see the following link: https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000717

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