An examination of the association between chronic sleep restriction and electrocortical arousal in college students

Sarah Witkowski, Logan T. Trujillo, Stephanie M. Sherman, Patricia Carter, Michael D. Matthews, David M. Schnyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The deleterious neurocognitive effects of laboratory-controlled short-term sleep deprivation are well-known. The present study investigated neurocognitive changes arising from chronic sleep restriction outside the laboratory. Methods: Sleep patterns of 24 undergraduates were tracked via actigraphy across a 15-week semester. At the semester beginning, at a midpoint, and a week before finals, students performed the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) and cortical arousal was measured via event-related potentials (ERP) and resting state electroencephalography (EEG). Results: Average daily sleep decreased between Session 1 and Sessions 2 and 3. Calculated circadian rhythm measures indicated nighttime movement increased and sleep quality decreased from Sessions 1 and 2 to Session 3. Parallel to the sleep/activity measures, PVT reaction time increased between Session 1 and Sessions 2 and 3 and resting state alpha EEG reactivity magnitude and PVT-evoked P3 ERP amplitude decreased between Session 1 and Sessions 2 and 3. Cross-sectional regressions showed PVT reaction time was negatively associated with average daily sleep, alpha reactivity, and P3 changes; sleep/circadian measures were associated with alpha reactivity and/or P3 changes. Conclusions: Small, but persistent sleep deficits reduced cortical arousal and impaired vigilant attention. Significance: Chronic sleep restriction impacts neurocognition in a manner similar to laboratory controlled sleep deprivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Volume126
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Actigraphy
  • Chronic sleep restriction
  • Circadian rhythms
  • EEG
  • ERP
  • PVT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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