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Partial sleep restriction impairs alertness and psychomotor performance of students


The students, athletes, shift workers as well as general populations has been sleep restricted in favor of social, economic, professional and personal commitments


The aim of this study was to verify the sleep restriction effects on alertness and psychomotor performance of the students


Sixteen male students (mean age of 25.0 ± 6.3 years) participated in the study. Participants studied at night (07:00am-10:30 pm) and worked at the day (8:00 am to 5:00 pm). The sleep-wake cycle was measured by actigraph for 10 days (before protocol) and mean Total Sleep Time (TST) was analyzed (mean TST = 8.02 hours). Participants were requested to sleep for at least 7 hours on the night before protocol (mean TST= 7.12 hours). At the first day of protocol was calculated 50% sleep restriction by the individual mean TST (10 days of actigraph).In addition, psychomotor performance and sleepiness were measured using the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) and Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) at the three moments (M1, M2, M3) for 24 hours: basal moment (M1 - 8:00 am), before the sleep restriction (M2 – 8:00 pm) and after the sleep restriction (M3: 8:00 am). At the second day the participants slept in the lab at 2:00 am until 6:00 am in a controlled and comfortable thermoneutral environment. In order to avoid sleep inertia, M3 evaluations started at 8:00 am (2 hours after awakening). Paired-Samples ANOVA was used to compare the PVT and KSS variables at the moments (M1, M2, M3). The significance level considered was 5% (p<0.05).


After the sleep restriction, the mean time reaction (mTR) increased in M3 compared to M1 (F= 14.51; p<0.01; PES=0.49; OP=0.99) and M2 (F=14.51; p=0.01; PES=0.49; OP=0.99), as well as there was an increased lapses of attention (LA) in M3 compared to M2 (F=5.46; p=0.04; PES=0.27; OP=0.68). However, there was no significant difference on False Starts (FS) between M3 and M1 and M2 (F=1.68, p=0.13; F = 1.68, p = 0.88) respectively. The sleepiness increased at M2 (F=77.45; p<0,01; PES=0.84; OP=0.99) and M3 (F=77.45; p<0.01; PES=0.84; OP=0.99) compared to M1.


Our findings suggest that 50% sleep restriction decreased psychomotor performance and alertness of night shift students, which may impair occupational activities, specialty classroom performance and daily life activities, as well as increased risk of lapses and accidents.



Sleep, Performance, Students.


Área Clínica


Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais - Minas Gerais - Brasil


Adriana Neves Silva Carvalho, Fernanda Veruska Narciso, José Angelo Barela, Andressa Silva, Sandra Souza Queiroz, Francieli Silva Ruiz, Sergio Tufik, Marco Tulio de Mello