Accession Number : ADP002986

Title :   The Effects of Sleep Loss and Sustained Mental Work: Implications for Command & Control Performance,

Corporate Author : DEFENCE AND CIVIL INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE DOWNSVIEW (ONTARIO)

Personal Author(s) : Angus,R. G. ; Heslegrave,R. J.

Report Date : NOV 1983

Pagination or Media Count : 21

Abstract : Technological advances permitting sustained military operations will increase the vulnerability of the human in battle. Our investigations have concentrated on examining the simplest yet probably one of the more debilitating aspects of continuous operations, the effect of sleep loss. Findings from previous sleep deprivation studies may not provide valid estimates of the cognitive deficits that emerge due to sleep loss for two reasons: first, most studies have measured performance only on an intermittent basis, and second, most studies have required continuous sleep deprivation but have not required continuous work. The present study represents our initial attempt to address these limitations by requiring and measuring performance on a continuous basis. Subjects were required to perform continuous cognitive work in an environment modelled after a command post during sustained battle. They assumed the role of operations duty officers and were required to handle message traffic during a 54-hour period of wakefulness. Performance was evaluated by monitoring the subjects' message-processing ability and by other objective tests embedded in an interspersed around the messages. Data are presented to show that sleep loss and sustained mental work can have dramatic effects on cognitive functions, even during the first night of sleep loss. The data also revealed that under this continuous cognitive workload, performance systematically declined. After 18 hours, performance declined substantially and remained at this lower level for approximately another 24 hours. Performance then declined again to a level that would generally be viewed as unacceptable.

Descriptors :   *Sleep deprivation, *Performance(Human), Mental ability, Work, Perception(Psychology), Monitoring, Performance tests, Symposia

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE