Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UPMC Study Shows Lack Of Sleep Causes Differences In Thinking Patterns In Brain

Date:
September 17, 1997
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Summary:
"Burning the midnight oil" may do more harm than good for people who believe they work best at night.

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 15 -- "Burning the midnight oil" may do more harm than good for people who believe they work best at night. In a study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, researchers have found that the body's need for sleep, influenced by its circadian rhythms, may slow down thinking processes at night. Also, researchers at the UPMC said, losing sleep at night can slow down your thinking skills the next day.

Related Articles


From a practical point of view, results suggest that in addition to safety concerns resulting from night workers' and night drivers' tendency to fall asleep, it should be recognized that even if they are wide awake, they may be thinking more slowly.

The UPMC study, published by Timothy H. Monk, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, and Julie Carrier, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow, in the current issue of the academic journal Sleep, suggests that circadian rhythms, the body's internal clock, can affect the speed at which the brain processes information. According to Dr. Monk, the study's principal investigator, night-time thinking may slow down because people need to fight their urges to sleep.

Eighteen healthy young adults participated in the 36-hour study that involved constant wakeful bedrest, or being kept awake while in bed, for the duration of the study. Participants also had no knowledge of clock time, and meals were replaced by hourly nutritional supplements. This was done to avoid feelings of sleepiness that accompany big meals. A series of performance tests involving figuring out whether sentences were true or false were given every other hour, and the speed and accuracy of the responses were recorded.

Using questions phrased in both the positive and negative voice, the researchers found that negative-voiced sentences took longer for participants to respond to than positive-voiced ones due to an increase in information-processing requirements. By plotting the speed with which this extra processing was done at each time of day and night, Drs. Monk and Carrier were able to factor out overall effects of sluggishness and inattention and get directly at the speed of thought itself. The study concluded that people think more slowly at night, perhaps because they approach a task differently at night than during the day. It also showed a slowing in the speed of information processing during the day after the lost night of sleep.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "UPMC Study Shows Lack Of Sleep Causes Differences In Thinking Patterns In Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970917075612.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (1997, September 17). UPMC Study Shows Lack Of Sleep Causes Differences In Thinking Patterns In Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970917075612.htm
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "UPMC Study Shows Lack Of Sleep Causes Differences In Thinking Patterns In Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970917075612.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins