The influence of sleep duration and sleep-related symptoms on baseline neurocognitive performance among male and female high school athletes

Neuropsychology. 2016 May;30(4):484-91. doi: 10.1037/neu0000250. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

Abstract

Typically, the effects of sleep duration on cognition are examined in isolation.

Objective: This study examined the effects of restricted sleep and related symptoms on neurocognitive performance.

Method: Baseline Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and postconcussion symptom scale (PCSS) were administered to athletes (N = 7,150) ages 14-17 (M = 15.26, SD = 1.09) prior to sport participation. Three groups of athletes were derived from total sleep duration: sleep restriction (≤5 hours), typical sleep (5.5-8.5 hours), and optimal sleep (≥9 hours). A MANCOVA (age and sex as covariates) was conducted to examine differences across ImPACT/PCSS. Follow-up MANOVA compared ImPACT/PCSS performance among symptomatic (e.g., trouble falling asleep, sleeping less than usual) adolescents from the sleep restriction group (n = 78) with asymptomatic optimal sleepers (n = 99).

Results: A dose-response effect of sleep duration on ImPACT performance and PCSS was replicated (Wilk's λ = .98, F2,7145 = 17.25, p < .001, η2 = .01). The symptomatic sleep restricted adolescents (n = 78) had poorer neurocognitive performance: verbal memory, F = 11.60, p = .001, visual memory, F = 6.57, p = .01, visual motor speed, F = 6.19, p = .01, and reaction time (RT), F = 5.21, p = .02, compared to demographically matched controls (n = 99). Girls in the sleep problem group performed worse on RT (p = .024).

Conclusion: Examining the combination of sleep-related symptoms and reduced sleep duration effectively identified adolescents at risk for poor neurocognitive performance than sleep duration alone. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Schools
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*