Sleep deprivation lowers inhibition and enhances impulsivity to negative stimuli

Behav Brain Res. 2011 Mar 1;217(2):463-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.09.020. Epub 2010 Oct 1.


Sleep deprivation has previously been shown to intensify neural and autonomic responses to increasingly negative stimuli. Here, we report how this potential bias to negative stimuli manifests itself in behavioural performance. One night of sleep loss led to increased impulsivity to negative stimuli, such that sleep deprived individuals had an increased failure to inhibit a response and faster incorrect responses. This enhanced reactivity to negative stimuli has important consequences outside the confines of the laboratory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / etiology*
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*
  • Young Adult