Behavioral and Physiological Consequences of Sleep Restriction
J Clin Sleep Med. 2007 August 15; 3(5): 519–528.

PMCID: PMC1978335
Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Behavioral and Physiological Consequences of Sleep Restriction

Siobhan Banks, Ph.D. and David F. Dinges, Ph.D.
Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Address correspondence to: Siobhan Banks, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1013 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA, USA 19104-6021, Phone: (215) 898-9665, Fax: (215) 573-6410, Email:

Received May 2007; Accepted June 2007.

Adequate sleep is essential for general healthy functioning. This paper reviews recent research on the effects of chronic sleep restriction on neurobehavioral and physiological functioning and discusses implications for health and lifestyle. Restricting sleep below an individual's optimal time in bed (TIB) can cause a range of neurobehavioral deficits, including lapses of attention, slowed working memory, reduced cognitive throughput, depressed mood, and perseveration of thought. Neurobehavioral deficits accumulate across days of partial sleep loss to levels equivalent to those found after 1 to 3 nights of total sleep loss. Recent experiments reveal that following days of chronic restriction of sleep duration below 7 hours per night, significant daytime cognitive dysfunction accumulates to levels comparable to that found after severe acute total sleep deprivation. Additionally, individual variability in neurobehavioral responses to sleep restriction appears to be stable, suggesting a traitlike (possibly genetic) differential vulnerability or compensatory changes in the neurobiological systems involved in cognition. A causal role for reduced sleep duration in adverse health outcomes remains unclear, but laboratory studies of healthy adults subjected to sleep restriction have found adverse effects on endocrine functions, metabolic and inflammatory responses, suggesting that sleep restriction produces physiological consequences that may be unhealthy.

Banks S; Dinges DF. Behavioral and physiological consequences of sleep restriction. J Clin Sleep Med 2007;3(5):519-528.

Keywords: Sleep restriction, neurobehavioral functions, physiology
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