Effects of sleep deprivation on sustained attention in young adults

Ivan Pinto Vargas, Stefanie Aline Aguiar, José Angelo Barela


BACKGROUND: Sleep deprivation is common nowadays and considering that attention is important to our daily activities, it is important to compare the effects of sleep deprivation on sustained attention.
AIM: This study investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on sustained attention in young adults.
METHOD: Sixteen adults were evaluated both after a normal and after one night of sleep deprivation. Sustained attention was assessed through the Tolouse-Piéron Test (TPT), measuring the number of correct responses (CR), omissions, and attention coefficient, at first, fifth and tenth minutes of the test.
RESULTS: Results revealed a reduction in the number of CR in the fifth compared to the first minute but only in the post-test session. The number of omissions increased in the fifth compared to the first minute in the post sleep deprivation. Attention coefficient decreased in the fifth and tenth compared to the first minute.
CONCLUSION: Sleep deprivation deteriorates sustained attention, especially when adults are required to maintain attention for long periods.


Sleepiness, Attention, Toulouse-Piéron Test.

Full Text:



Chee MW, Tan JC, Parimal S, Zagorodnov V. Sleep deprivation and its effects on object-selective attention. NeuroImage. 2010;49(2):1903-10.

Killgore WD. Effects of sleep deprivation on cognition. Progress in brain research. 2010;185:105-29.

Aguiar SA, Barela JA. Sleep deprivation affects sensorimotor coupling in postural control of young adults. Neuroscience letters. 2014;574:47-52.

Patel M, Gomez S, Berg S, Almbladh P, Lindblad J, Petersen H, et al. Effects of 24-h and 36-h sleep deprivation on human postural control and adaptation. Experimental brain research. 2008;185(2):165-73.

Robillard R, Prince F, Boissonneault M, Filipini D, Carrier J. Effects of increased homeostatic sleep pressure on postural control and their modulation by attentional resources. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. 2011;122(9):1771-8.

Gazes Y, Rakitin BC, Steffener J, Habeck C, Lisanby SH, Butterfield B, et al. Dual-tasking alleviated sleep deprivation disruption in visuomotor tracking: an fMRI study. Brain and cognition. 2012;78(3):248-56.

Baumann O, Greenlee MW. Effects of attention to auditory motion on cortical activations during smooth pursuit eye tracking. PloS one. 2009;4(9):e7110.

Bocca ML, Denise P. Total sleep deprivation effect on disengagement of spatial attention as assessed by saccadic eye movements. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. 2006;117(4):894-9.

Taillard J, Moore N, Claustrat B, Coste O, Bioulac B, Philip P. Nocturnal sustained attention during sleep deprivation can be predicted by specific periods of subjective daytime alertness in normal young humans. Journal of sleep research. 2006;15(1):41-5.

Roca J, Fuentes LJ, Marotta A, Lopez-Ramon MF, Castro C, Lupianez J, et al. The effects of sleep deprivation on the attentional functions and vigilance. Acta psychologica. 2012;140(2):164-76.

Kahn M, Fridenson S, Lerer R, Bar-Haim Y, Sadeh A. Effects of one night of induced night-wakings versus sleep restriction on sustained attention and mood: a pilot study. Sleep medicine. 2014;15(7):825-32.

Mokntari S, Behpazhoh A, Afrooz GA, Ebrahimi N, Samira S. Effectiveness of sensory integration method on improving children‘s attention with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Social Issues & Humanities. 2014;2(Issue 8).

Montiel JM, Figuereido ER, Lutosa SD, Dias NM. Evidência de validade para o Teste de Atenção Concentrada Toulouse-Piéron

no contexto de trânsito. Psicologia: Pesquisa & Trânsito. 2006;2:19-27.

Warren DE, Thurtell MJ, Carroll JN, Wall M. Perimetric evaluation of saccadic latency, saccadic accuracy, and visual threshold for peripheral visual stimuli in young compared with older adults. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2013;54(8):5778-87.

Mazon J. The influence of thermal discomfort on the attention index of teenagers: an experimental evaluation. International journal of biometeorology. 2014;58(5):717-24.

Fioravanti M, Carbone G, Galli N, Piccirilli E, Pierucci P. Relationship between memory, attention, and depression in chronic cerebro-vascular patients. Journal of the neurological sciences. 2007;257(1-2):155-9.

Pacheco AA. Relation between sleep quality and attention in students of business administration. Biological Rhythm Research. 2014;45(1):131-42.

Martella D, Casagrande M, Lupianez J. Alerting, orienting and executive control: the effects of sleep deprivation on attentional networks. Experimental brain research. 2011;210(1):81-9.

Chee MW, Tan JC, Zheng H, Parimal S, Weissman DH, Zagorodnov V, et al. Lapsing during sleep deprivation is associated with distributed changes in brain activation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2008;28(21):5519-28.

Drummond SP, Brown GG, Salamat JS, Gillin JC. Increasing task difficulty facilitates the cerebral compensatory response to total sleep deprivation. Sleep. 2004;27(3):445-51.

Chua EC, Yeo SC, Lee IT, Tan LC, Lau P, Cai S, et al. Sustained attention performance during sleep deprivation associates with instability in behavior and physiologic measures at baseline. Sleep. 2014;37(1):27-39.

Sadeh A, Dan O, Bar-Haim Y. Online assessment of sustained attention following sleep restriction. Sleep medicine. 2011;12(3):257-61.

Gunzelmann G, Gross JB, Gluck KA, Dinges DF. Sleep deprivation and sustained attention performance: integrating mathematical and cognitive modeling. Cognitive science. 2009;33(5):880-910.

Philip P, Akerstedt T. Transport and industrial safety, how are they affected by sleepiness and sleep restriction? Sleep medicine reviews. 2006;10(5):347-56.

Jackson ML, Croft RJ, Kennedy GA, Owens K, Howard ME. Cognitive components of simulated driving performance: Sleep loss effects and predictors. Accident; analysis and prevention. 2013;50:438-44.


  • There are currently no refbacks.