Research from Michigan State University’s Sleep and Learning Lab investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on cognition and memory. They found that while caffeine can boost attention even in sleep-deprived individuals, it cannot mitigate errors in complex tasks that involve a sequence of steps (placekeeping). Moreover, napping during the night doesn’t compensate for the negative cognitive impacts of sleep deprivation.
- Sleep deprivation leads to lapses in attention, making it harder for individuals to maintain focus even on simple tasks.
- Placekeeping errors increase with sleep deprivation; for example, following a sequence of steps correctly becomes challenging.
- While caffeine can help in maintaining attention, it does not reduce complex errors caused by sleep deprivation.
- A majority of American adults use caffeine daily to combat sleepiness.
- Nightly naps, even during the lowest alertness point in the circadian cycle, do not offset the cognitive deficits of an entire night of sleep deprivation.