Less effective executive functioning after one night's sleep deprivation

J Sleep Res. 2005 Mar;14(1):1-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2005.00442.x.


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is affected negatively by sleep deprivation (SD) and executive functioning is largely dependent on activity in the PFC. Earlier studies have focused on subsystems of executive functioning, and tests of executive functioning have shown both low reliability and low validity. In the present study, 11 healthy volunteers were sleep deprived and compared with 11 healthy controls in a study on effects of one night's SD on integrative executive functioning. Following SD, the performance of subjects on an ecologically valid test, the modified Six Elements Test, was significantly impaired. There were no group differences on psychomotor vigilance, verbal or visuo-spatial working memory. This extends previous knowledge of performance effects of SD, and may be of special importance for individuals with cognitive work tasks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology