The effects of sleep restriction on executive inhibitory control and affect in young adults

Rossa, Kalina R., Smith, Simon S., Allan, Alicia C., & Sullivan, Karen A. (2014) The effects of sleep restriction on executive inhibitory control and affect in young adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(2), pp. 287-292.

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Purpose: Young adults regularly experience restricted sleep due to a range of social, educational and vocational commitments. Evidence suggests that extended periods of sleep deprivation negatively impact affective and inhibitory control mechanisms leading to behavioural consequences such as increased emotional reactivity and impulsive behaviour. It is less clear whether acute periods of restricted sleep produce the same behavioural consequences.

Methods: Nineteen young adults (m = 8, f = 12) with habitual late bed-time (after 22:30 h) and wake-time (after 06:30 h) completed a range of objective and subjective measures assessing sleepiness (Psychomotor Vigilance Task, Karolinska Sleepiness Scale), inhibitory control (Emotional Go/No-go Task and a Balloon Analog Risk Task) and affect (Positive and Negative Affective Schedule). Testing was counterbalanced across participants, and occurred on two occasions once following restricted sleep and once following habitual sleep one week apart.

Results: Compared to habitual sleep, sleep restriction produced significantly slower performance on the Psychomotor Vigilance Task, and higher subjective ratings of sleepiness on the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale. Sleep restriction also caused a significant decrease in positive affect, but no change in negative affect on the Affective Schedule. Inhibitory control efficiency was significantly differentiated, with participants showing an increase in risk taking on the Balloon Analog Risk Task, but there was no evidence of increased reactivity to negative stimuli on the Emotional Go/No-go task.

Conclusions: Results suggest that even acute periods of sleep loss may cause deficits in affective experiences and increase impulsive and potentially high risk behaviour in young adults.

Impact and interest:

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6 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 75795
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Sleep deprivation, Emotions, Impulsive behaviour, Risk taking
DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.034
ISSN: 1879-1972
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Copyright Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Adolescent Health. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Adolescent Health, [55, 2, (2014)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.034
Deposited On: 31 Aug 2014 23:12
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 19:20

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