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The impact of total sleep deprivation upon cognitive functioning in firefighters

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Julia Newton



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© 2018 Kujawski et al. Introduction: Firefighters as a profession are required to maintain high levels of attention for prolonged periods. However, total sleep deprivation (TSD) could influence negatively upon performance, particularly when the task is prolonged and repetitive. Purpose: The aim of this study is to examine the influence of TSD on cognitive functioning in a group of firefighters. Subjects and methods: Sixty volunteers who were active male fire brigade officers were examined with a computerized battery test that consisted of simple reaction time (SRT) (repeated three times), choice reaction time, visual attention test, and delayed matching to sample. Six series of measurements were undertaken over a period of TSD. Results: Performance in the second attempt in SRT test was significantly worse in terms of increased number of errors and, consequently, decreased number of correct responses during TSD. In contrast, the choice reaction time number of correct responses as well as the visual attention test reaction time for all and correct responses significantly improved compared to initial time points. Conclusion: The study has confirmed that subjects committed significantly more errors and, consequently, noted a smaller number of correct responses in the second attempt of SRT test. However, the remaining results showed reversed direction of TSD influence. TSD potentially leads to worse performance in a relatively easy task in a group of firefighters. Errors during repetitive tasks in firefighting routines could potentially translate into catastrophic consequences.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kujawski S, Slomko J, Tafil-Klawe M, Zawadka-Kunikowska M, Szrajda J, Newton JL, Zalewski P, Klawe JJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment

Year: 2018

Volume: 14

Pages: 1171-1181

Online publication date: 08/05/2018

Acceptance date: 19/01/2018

Date deposited: 02/07/2018

ISSN (print): 1176-6328

ISSN (electronic): 1178-2021

Publisher: Dove Medical Press Ltd


DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S156501


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