Skip to main content

Free Content Sleep restriction for the duration of a work week impairs multitasking performance

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library


It is important to develop shift schedules that minimise the chance for sleep-related human error in safety-critical domains. Experimental data on the effects of sleep restriction (SR) play a key role in this development work. In order to provide such data, we conducted an experiment in which cognitively demanding and long-duration task performance, simulating task performance at work, was measured under SR and following recovery. Twenty healthy male volunteers, aged 19–29 years, participated in the study. Thirteen of them had first two baseline days (8-h sleep opportunity per day), then five SR days (4-h sleep) and finally two recovery days (8-h sleep). Seven controls were allowed to sleep for 8 h each night. On each experimental day, multitask performance was tested in 50-min sessions, physiological sleepiness was evaluated during multitask performance using electroencephalogram (EEG)/electrooculogram (EOG) recordings, and psychomotor vigilance task performance and Karolinska Sleepiness Scale were recorded. Sleep–wake rhythm was monitored throughout the experiment. The multitask performance progressively deteriorated as a result of prolongation of the SR and the time spent on the task. The effect was significant at group level, but individual differences were large: performance was not markedly deteriorated in all participants. Similar changes were observed also in EEG/EOG-defined sleepiness. The recovery process of performance and sleepiness from the SR continued over the two recovery sleep opportunities. In all, our findings emphasise the importance of shift systems that do not restrict sleep for several consecutive days.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: cumulative sleep restriction; multitask performance; recovery; sleepiness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physiology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki, Finland 2: Brain and Work Research Centre, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland 3: Centre of Expertise Human Factors at Work, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland 4: Statistical Services, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: 2010-09-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more