An Overview of Sleep Deprivation and The Ameliorative Effects of Modafinil
DEFENCE AND CIVIL INST OF ENVIRONMENTALMEDICINE DOWNSVIEW (ONTARIO)
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An overview of total sleep deprivation is offered that attempts to sample the broad array of studies conducted in the area. A distinction is made between sleepiness and fatigue as explanations for the behavioural effects attributed to sleep loss. The first, sleepiness, concerns itself with the pressure to fall asleep that is moderated by circadian pressures, while the second, fatigue, addresses a hypothesized monotonic more or less degradation in capability in the pre-frontal cortex. It is shown that both effects can be influenced by a number of modifier variables each of which can interact with each other to exaggerate or moderate cognitive declines due to sleep loss. The second part of the paper discusses a new pharmaceutical substance known a modafinil and its ability to ameliorate sleep deprivation effects. It is suggested that modafinil may be beneficial for counteracting sleepiness, but that it may not be as successful for counteracting fatigue effects, suggesting that modafinil should be used with caution for tasks requiring high-level cognition.
- Stress Physiology