Clinical effects of sleep fragmentation versus sleep deprivation

Sleep Med Rev. 2003 Aug;7(4):297-310. doi: 10.1053/smrv.2001.0245.


Common symptoms associated with sleep fragmentation and sleep deprivation include increased objective sleepiness (as measured by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test); decreased psychomotor performance on a number of tasks including tasks involving short term memory, reaction time, or vigilance; and degraded mood. Differences in degree of sleepiness are more related to the degree of sleep loss or fragmentation rather than to the type of sleep disturbance. Both sleep fragmentation and sleep deprivation can exacerbate sleep pathology by increasing the length and pathophysiology of sleep apnea. The incidence of both fragmenting sleep disorders and chronic partial sleep deprivation is very high in our society, and clinicians must be able to recognize and treat Insufficient Sleep Syndrome even when present with other sleep disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods
  • Prolactin / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / metabolism
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy
  • Sleep Deprivation / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Prolactin
  • Hydrocortisone