Seven Effects of Sleep Deprivation


News continues to pour out of the recently concluded 28th meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, including a host of consumer-focused “weird” effects of sleep deprivation. Ever wonder why Las Vegas casinos favor bright colors and never close?


As picked up by Vox and other outlets, an article by Susannah Locke presents the list of “unexpected” effects as follows:


1) People who are sleep-deprived may not even realize they’re sleep-deprived.

The more sleep-deprived people were, the less well they did on a classic reaction-time test administered by scientists.

2) Sleep-deprivation might give you “beer goggles.”

Or, more accurately, sleep goggles. After 24 hours of sleep deprivation, men in one experiment rated photos of “the least attractive models” as more attractive than before they’d gotten all sleepy.

3) Lack of sleep seems to make people more sensitive to pain.

Subjects allowed two hours of sleep one night ended up decidedly wimpier — they were able to tolerate significantly less pain.

4) And less sleep also seems to make people less empathetic.

Subjects seemed to have less empathy when viewing photos of hands stung by needles.

5) Sleep deprivation could lead to increased paranoid and delusional beliefs.

After being awake for 18 hours straight, participants rated somewhat higher on standard scales of global paranoia.

6) Going without sleep seems to make people less concerned about losing money.

A group from the University of Pittsburgh, including Tyler Conrad, presented this one. Participants did a gambling task, where they could win $10 or lose $5 in each trial. When anticipating a loss, those who were sleep deprived showed less activity in the caudate and orbital frontal cortex brain regions, which are associated with the mind’s reward system.

7) And sleepy people seem worse at recognizing other people’s emotions.

People were worse at identifying the emotions on people’s faces and how intense the emotions were.

Related Posts