The impact of sleep on cognitive function

I finished Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep today and there are many statistics and facts which truly are mind boggling. I found the results of this study to be one of the many mind boggling results presented in the book:

After being awake for 19 hours, people who are sleep deprived are as cognitively impaired as those who are legally drunk.

Here is the full passage from the book + the study if you’d like to read more:

In a disturbing later study, researchers in Australia took two groups of healthy adults, one of whom they got drunk to the legal driving limit (.08 percent blood alcohol), the other of whom they sleep-deprived for a single night. Both groups performed [a] concentration test to assess attention performance, specifically the number of lapses. After being awake for nineteen hours, people who were sleep-deprived were as cognitively impaired as those who were legally drunk. Said another way, if you wake up at seven a.m and remain awake throughout the day, then go out socializing with friends until late that evening, yet drink no alcohol whatsoever, by the time you are driving home at two a.m you are as cognitively impaired in your ability to attend to the road and what is around you as a legally drunk driver. In fact, participants in the above study started their nosedive in performance after just fifteen hours of being awake (ten p.m. in the above scenario).

Why We Sleep (Study)

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