Case: In case of an adult, the average adult sleep time required is 7.5 to 8 hours. Suppose the person (aged between 23-29) has slept only 6 hours, or less than the average time (7.5 to 8 hours).

  1. Does sleep deprivation lasting for a day cause mood swings in that particular day?
  2. Do we loose grasping abilities due to sleep deprivation?
  3. Does sleep deprivation affect our reasoning abilities?

1 Answer 1


Does sleep deprivation cause mood swings?

Few studies have focused on mood changes in healthy subjects following sleep deprivation. It seems that there is evidence for sleep deprivation causing mood changes on the subsequent day, but there is no evidence for or against it causing mood swings.

Hart et al. (1987) found significantly higher self-reported hostility for sleep-deprived medical residents compared with controls, but did not report an effect size. A later study compared college students' self-reported moods between "morning/evening person" and total/partial sleep deprivation, and reported general support for mood changes in morning persons, but not in evening persons (Selvi, Gulec, Agargun and Besiroglu, 2007).

Does sleep deprivation impair grasping?

A reasonable search of Google Scholar, Web of Science and Scopus did not reveal any research on the association between sleep deprivation and grasping behaviors as such. One study of surgical residents reported that sleep-deprived residents made more errors and took more time to complete a surgical simulation, the "Minimally Invasive Surgery Trainer VR", mostly involving grasping behavior (Eastridge et al., 2003).

Does sleep deprivation affect reasoning?

Reasoning is by far the most well-studied domain with respect to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation seems to have a substantial negative effect on many aspects of reasoning. Pilcher and Walters (1997) reported that sleep-deprived college students not only performed worse on Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, but also rated their concentration and effort as higher than controls following total sleep deprivation. Herscovitch, Stuss and Broughton (1980) found that partial sleep deprivation was associated with decreased strategic flexibility on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task. Hart et al. (1997) reported that partially sleep-deprived medical residents retained less information and exhibited slower responses on a set of cognitive tasks.


  • Eastridge, B. J., Hamilton, E. C., O’Keefe, G. E., Rege, R. V., Valentine, R. J., Jones, D. J., ... & Thal, E. R. (2003). Effect of sleep deprivation on the performance of simulated laparoscopic surgical skill. The American Journal of Surgery, 186(2), 169-174.
  • Hart, R. P., Buchsbaum, D. G., Wade, J. B., Hamer, R. M., & Kwentus, J. A. (1987). Effect of sleep deprivation on first-year residents' response times, memory, and mood. Academic Medicine, 62(11), 940-2.
  • Herscovitch, J., Stuss, D., & Broughton, R. (1980). Changes in cognitive processing following short-term cumulative partial sleep deprivation and recovery oversleeping. Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology, 2(4), 301-319.
  • Pilcher, J. J., & Walters, A. S. (1997). How sleep deprivation affects psychological variables related to college students' cognitive performance. Journal of American College Health, 46(3), 121-126.
  • Selvi, Y., Gulec, M., Agargun, M. Y., & Besiroglu, L. (2007). Mood changes after sleep deprivation in morningness–eveningness chronotypes in healthy individuals. Journal of sleep research, 16(3), 241-244.

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