Extraverts are more vulnerable to effects of sleep deprivation after social interaction

Nov 01, 2010

A study in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Sleep found that vulnerability to sleep deprivation is influenced by the interaction between waking social activity and individual personality traits.

Results show that extraverts who were exposed to 12 hours of were more vulnerable to subsequent sleep deprivation than those who were exposed to an identical period of isolated activity. Speed on the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) for extraverts in the socially enriched group was significantly slower at 4 a.m., 6 a.m. and noon compared with speed for extraverts in the socially impoverished condition. Introverts' speed on the PVT was relatively unaffected by prior social exposure.

"Extraverts exposed to socially enriched environments showed greater vulnerability to subsequent sleep deprivation than did extraverts exposed to an identical but socially impoverished environment," said principal investigator and lead author Tracy L. Rupp, PhD, research psychologist in the Behavioral Biology Branch of the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md. "The ability of introverts to resist sleep loss was relatively unaffected by the social environment. Overall, the present results might also be interpreted more generally to suggest that waking experiences, along with their interaction with individual characteristics, influence vulnerability to subsequent sleep loss."

The study involved 48 healthy adults between 18 and 39 years of age. Participants were prescreened using the NEO Personality Inventory Revised, and on the day of arrival for the study they were classified as extraverted (n=23) or introverted (n=25) using the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised.

After a night of baseline sleep that was measured by polysomnography, participants remained awake for a total of 36 hours, which included a 12-hour social-exposure condition followed by 22 hours of sleep deprivation. Twenty-four participants were randomly assigned to the "socially enriched group," participating in controlled and structured group activities from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and interacting socially with four research technicians. Activities included interactive card and board games, puzzles, group discussions and movies. The 24 participants who were assigned to the "socially impoverished group" completed similar activities in relative isolation in their private rooms. Objective alertness was measured by hourly testing, alternating the PVT with the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT).

Results show that there were no significant differences in measured sleep parameters between extraverts and introverts on the baseline night. Although differences in PVT performance were not evident during the social-exposure condition, introverts were more alert than extraverts on the MWT.

According to the authors, social interactions are cognitively complex experiences that may lead to rapid fatigue in brain regions that regulate attention and alertness. Therefore, high levels of social stimulation may be associated with an increase in the need for sleep. However, some individuals have a trait-like resistance to sleep loss that appears to be rooted in genetic differences. In particular, introverts may have higher levels of cortical arousal, giving them greater resistance to .

Rupp noted that the results may have implications for industries that require workers to maintain alertness during periods of sustained wakefulness. Potential performance consequences resulting from team assignments or independent work may vary depending on an individual's .

"These data have practical relevance for occupational shift work and military operational assignments, and theoretical implications for understanding individual-difference factors influencing vulnerability or resiliency to sleep loss."

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Night shift nurses more likely to have poor sleep habits

Jun 11, 2007

Nurses who work the night shift are more likely to have poor sleep habits, a practice that can increase the likelihood of committing serious errors that can put the safety of themselves as well as their patients at risk, ...

Brain responds same to acute and chronic sleep loss

Aug 09, 2010

Burning the candle at both ends for a week may take an even bigger toll than you thought. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that five nights of restricted sleep--four hours a night--affect the ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.