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Free Content Level of arousal and the ability to maintain wakefulness

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The ability to maintain wakefulness under baseline and sleep deprivation conditions was examined in a group of 14 normal young adults. Subjects participated in both standard and manipulation Maintenance of Wakefulness tests after being awake for 7, 19, and 31 h. In the manipulation Maintenance of Wakefulness tests, subjects performed varying degrees of physical activity at the onset of stage 1 to allow them to preserve wakefulness. As expected, ability to maintain wakefulness declined as time awake increased. With amount of time awake held constant, wakefulness was enhanced most after standing and doing knee bends, less after standing, less after sitting up, and least after subjects were spoken to. The improvement in alertness after doing knee bends as compared to being spoken to was of the same relative magnitude as the decrease in alertness after one night of total sleep deprivation. As expected, heart rate also increased consistently as activity increased. Each subject had a negative correlation between their EEG sleep latencies and their minimum r-r interval during the manipulation, i.e. the higher the heart rate, the longer the latency. These data were interpreted as a demonstration of the impact of discrete phasic arousal on the ability to maintain wakefulness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-12-01

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