Scientists have proven the value of a good night’s sleep by demonstrating that people who don’t get enough shut-eye are far slower at work the following day.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in the United States, have discovered that lack of sleep influences the way people perform certain tasks, regardless of how tired they think they are.
They studied the sleep and work patterns of a dozen volunteers over a month. In the first week, all participants were scheduled to sleep ten to 12 hours a night to make sure they were well-rested.
For the following three weeks they only slept the equivalent of 5.6 hours per night, and also had their sleep times scheduled on a 28-hour cycle, mirroring chronic jet lag.
They were then given computer tests that involved visual search tasks, while scientists recorded how quickly the volunteers could find important information, and how accurate they were in identifying it.
Researchers found that the longer the participants were awake, the slower they became at identifying the important information in the test.