air traffic control alert awake decision making healthy living lethargy quick memory encoding sleep Sleep deprivation visual information
Sleep, to stay Alert!
Its official, a good night sleep is not just an important element in your beauty regime, it is also essential to keep you active and alert. A study at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital indicated that lack of sleep not only leads to lethargy, but also affects complex visual search tasks adversely! Activities like power plant monitoring, air-traffic control and baggage screening, which are safety-sensitive, are often affected by lack of sleep. These activities demand a process of repeated retrieval of visual information and quick memory encoding along with a good amount of decision making related to the acquired information.
In this study, 12 participants were scheduled to sleep for about 10 hours every night in the beginning and then for about 5 hours, with sleep times in a 28-hour cycle, similar to someone suffering of acute jet lag. It was thus recorded that the time taken by the participants to perform visual search computer tasks was more when there was a lack of sleep. Along with this, the study also indicated a slower response from 12am to 6am, which is considered as the biological night time. It was also seen that reduction in the hours spent sleeping led to diminishing quality of work.
This result is beneficial to employees and workers who perform visual computer tasks during the night since their performance is likely to be slower at night than in the day.
So the next time you are working at night and realize you are getting nowhere, just remember a good night sleep is a better solution than a hot cup of coffee!
Contributed by Sneha Shenoy
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