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A single night of sleep loss impairs objective but not subjective working memory performance in a sex-dependent manner
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Functional Pharmacology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Functional Pharmacology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Functional Pharmacology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Functional Pharmacology.
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Sleep Research, ISSN 0962-1105, E-ISSN 1365-2869, Vol. 28, no 1, article id e12651Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Acute sleep deprivation can lead to judgement errors and thereby increases the risk of accidents, possibly due to an impaired working memory. However, whether the adverse effects of acute sleep loss on working memory are modulated by auditory distraction in women and men are not known. Additionally, it is unknown whether sleep loss alters the way in which men and women perceive their working memory performance. Thus, 24 young adults (12 women using oral contraceptives at the time of investigation) participated in two experimental conditions: nocturnal sleep (scheduled between 22:30 and 06:30 hours) versus one night of total sleep loss. Participants were administered a digital working memory test in which eight-digit sequences were learned and retrieved in the morning after each condition. Learning of digital sequences was accompanied by either silence or auditory distraction (equal distribution among trials). After sequence retrieval, each trial ended with a question regarding how certain participants were of the correctness of their response, as a self-estimate of working memory performance. We found that sleep loss impaired objective but not self-estimated working memory performance in women. In contrast, both measures remained unaffected by sleep loss in men. Auditory distraction impaired working memory performance, without modulation by sleep loss or sex. Being unaware of cognitive limitations when sleep-deprived, as seen in our study, could lead to undesirable consequences in, for example, an occupational context. Our findings suggest that sleep-deprived young women are at particular risk for overestimating their working memory performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2019. Vol. 28, no 1, article id e12651
Keywords [en]
sound distraction, women and men, nocturnal wakefulness, subjective performance, cognition
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-376724DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12651ISI: 000456255400005PubMedID: 29383809OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-376724DiVA, id: diva2:1287492
Funder
Fredrik och Ingrid Thurings StiftelseSwedish Research Council, 2015-03100Åke Wiberg FoundationThe Swedish Brain Foundation, FO2016-0092Swedish Society of MedicineTore Nilsons Stiftelse för medicinsk forskningNovo Nordisk, NNF14OC0009349Erik, Karin och Gösta Selanders FoundationAFA Insurance, 140006Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-02-11 Created: 2019-02-11 Last updated: 2019-04-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. If only I could sleep, maybe I could remember
Open this publication in new window or tab >>If only I could sleep, maybe I could remember
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Memory lies the ground for human cognitive skills, enabling complex social interaction, abstract thinking, and execution of precise motor skills. Development of these memory functions can be modified by several factors, including previous knowledge, reward, and sleep. In Paper I, skill level already when learning a motor skill determined whether the newly encoded memory would be enhanced during a subsequent post-learning period without training. Those already performing at a high level during learning gained less until recall, whereas those who performed at a lower level during learning demonstrated an enhanced improvement at recall.

Thus, in Paper I we determined modulators of skill enhancement. In Paper II, we actively intended to modulate subsequent motor skill gain by delivering a praise immediately following learning. We found that praise had a positive effect on performance gain, which demonstrates that there are interventions that can easily be applied to enhance motor skill learning across time.

Sleep is vital for healthy cognitive functions, and sleep disruption has not only been correlated with impaired cognitive function in the short-term, it has also been implicated as a risk factor for development of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. In paper I, nighttime sleep between learning and recall of a motor memory was beneficial for learning compared to a daytime wake period. In Paper III, depriving participants from sleep negatively influenced performance on a working memory task; as did auditory distractions, but independent from sleep deprivation. However, working memory functions were not equally effected in women and men; working memory functions in women were more affected by sleep deprivation.

Although it is well-known that sleep is good for health and well-being, in today’s modern society, most people have access to electricity and internet 24/7, and it is not uncommon to exchange sleep time with spending time in front of screen-based devices, such as smartphones. Access to screen-based devices in the evening and during the night are negatively correlated with a good night’s rest. In Paper IV, we did not find support for that the light emitted from those screens play a role for this negative correlation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2019. p. 75
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1574
Keywords
Sleep, Memory, Learning, Motor skills, Praise, Reward, Sleep deprivation, Sex-differences, LED-screens, Circadian rhythm, Competence-based self-esteem
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-382100 (URN)978-91-513-0659-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-06-14, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2019-05-20 Created: 2019-04-23 Last updated: 2019-06-18

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Rångtell, Frida HSchiöth, Helgi B.Cedernaes, JonathanBenedict, Christian

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