Dumb and Grumpy: The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

This blog often discusses cognitive enhancers, such as mental mojo, but one of the single most devastating cognitive detractors is sleep deprivation. Increasingly, neuroscientific studies are showing that sleep deprivation is cognitive kryptonite.

For starters, it blunts the brain’s ability to be positive. According to findings of two related studies published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, less sleep makes the brain more sensitive to negative stimuli, and less sensitive to positive ones. This is why, as many new parents will attest, a pile of laundry atop a newly renovated floor in a nice neighborhood can seem like the end of the world after an all-nighter with the kiddos.

But even more catastrophically, sleep deprivation kills cognitive performance on all metrics. Studies increasingly show that not only does sleep deprivation diminish concentration, but also increases the perceived effort associated with that concentration. Put simply, tired people accomplish less despite feeling as though they’ve worked harder than well-rested people.

If you found this interesting, check out Mojo’s other posts on the cognitive impact of sleep deprivation.

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