The Effects of Natural Sleep Debt on Current Mood, Working Memory, and Risk-Taking Propensity
Hall Brown, Tyish S
Lejuez, Carl W
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It has been established that, as a whole, adolescents receive inadequate amounts of sleep due to both biological and environmental influences. As a result of this sleep loss, daytime impairment may occur in both cognitive and affective domains. Recent evidence suggests that inadequate sleep may also play a role in increased risk taking behavior, however, these studies are primarily descriptive in nature. Given that adolescents may be at particular risk for engagement in increased risky behaviors due to chronic insufficient sleep, more rigorous studies focusing on this relationship may be useful. To address this need, the current study provides a laboratory-based examination of sleep debt and risk-taking behavior using a multi-modal assessment approach. This association will be evaluated directly using a behavioral assessment task that measures risk-taking propensity as well as indirectly by examining several dimensions of the construct of disinhibition, which is purported to underlie risk-taking behaviors. Additionally, this study seeks to replicate past findings that suggest a link between sleep debt and daytime impairment in the form of decrements in working memory and disturbance of current mood states. It is expected that this research will provide a better understanding of the relationship between sleep debt and risk-taking behaviors, setting the stage for future studies.