Tag Archives: Sleep deprivation

The genetics of sleep

27 Aug

Maria Konnikova has a post at The New Yorker about the genetics of sleep:

“What the researchers found was that the reaction to sleep deprivation was largely heritable: eighty per cent of the variation among peoples’ susceptibility to the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation was explained by genetics.”

Konnikova makes a good case for the importance of sleep research:

“Sleep deprivation can cause actual physical harm, like a car crash, or cause you to hit “reply all” when you don’t mean to—a crash of a different sort. It results in severe cognitive impairments: lower productivity and difficulty concentrating, memory issues, and motivational problems. It even makes you like your hobbies less. That’s not to mention the known increased health risks, like hypertension, heart disease, obesity, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and even neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Sleep deprivation may be one of our greatest, and often invisible, public-health threats.”


Sleep deprivation increases false memories

29 Jul

Because of several notorious cases, false memories have attracted a great deal of research attention. Here is a study published in Psychological Science suggesting that sleep deprivation can play a role in the formation of false memories; additional evidence that sleep is vital to memory.

Here is the abstract:

“Many studies have investigated factors that affect susceptibility to false memories. However, few have investigated the role of sleep deprivation in the formation of false memories, despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function. We examined the relationship between self-reported sleep duration and false memories and the effect of 24 hr of total sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories. We found that under certain conditions, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing false memories. Specifically, sleep deprivation increased false memories in a misinformation task when participants were sleep deprived during event encoding, but did not have a significant effect when the deprivation occurred after event encoding. These experiments are the first to investigate the effect of sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories, which can have dire consequences.”



The cult of sleep deprivation

18 Jul

Atlantic associate editor Olga Khazan looks at the American cultural prejudice against sleep. It includes this quotation from Dale Carnegie:

“We don’t even know if we have to sleep at all!”

Carnegie was just one of many promoting a “cult of manly wakefulness,” where sleep is seen as a weakness and working until late as night is evidence of grit and determination.

This is an unfortunate obsession and, in reality, actually decreases productivity and creativity.

In this video CNN talks about sleep deprivation as a national health crisis:

Sleep is critical for brain health

3 Apr

Neuroscientifically Challenged has a good post on why sleep is important for brain health.

While at Nautilus there is a piece by  Eli Chen about the health consequences of nighttime light exposure.

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