Researchers at Michigan State University’s Sleep and Learning Laboratory have published a new study on sleep. The team found that lack of sleep affects all aspects of life, increases the risk of accidents, and can lead to work errors and lack of concentration in class.
“People who don’t get enough sleep must be careful about everything they do and don’t believe they’re going to make costly mistakes,” Kimberly Fenn, director of the Sleep and Learning Laboratory, said in a statement recently released by the university. “
Lack of adequate sleep can affect people’s attention, the study found. People who don’t get enough sleep are twice as likely to make mistakes than those who get enough sleep. Similarly, drowsy people were three times more likely to struggle to maintain their attention.
Placekeeping refers to a person’s ability to follow normal procedures. Taken together, these two negative effects can increase the chances of people making costly mistakes in their lives and work, sometimes with tragic consequences. Examples include trying to maintain attention while driving, or following procedures while performing multiple steps of tasks, such as tests performed by a tired doctor.
According to the study of 138 participants, 77 of them stayed up all night, and error rates increased at night in both groups, but the error rate was 30 percent in the sleep-deprived group and 15 percent in the sleep-rich group. The researchers note that lack of sleep may eventually have a negative impact throughout the day.