Effects of total sleep deprivation on the perception of action capabilities
Changes in a subject's state have been shown to modulate the perceptual update of his or her action capabilities. In parallel, sleep deprivation impairs in cognitive functions. It involves common neural structures that support the perception of successfully achieving a motor task. Thus, the study investigated the effect of 24 h of sleep deprivation on the perception of action capabilities. Twenty-four healthy participants were randomly separated into two groups (control group vs. 24 h sleep deprivation group). Participants in the control group slept at home according to their habitual sleep-wake schedule. The 24-h sleep deprivation group stayed awake in the laboratory. Participants estimated the limit of their maximal height of stepping-over a bar before and after the sleep intervention. These estimations were compared to each participant's actual maximal stepping-over height. Physical performance (measured by maximal voluntary quadriceps contraction and repetitive vertical jumping tests) and perceptual inhibition tests (measured by choice reaction time tasks) were also performed for three sessions at three time points t (0), t (+12h), and t (+24h) with t (0) = 8:00 a.m. for all participants. Participants in the 24-h sleep deprivation group showed impairments in perceived over-stepping performance and impaired cognitive functioning (higher reaction time), while no changes were observed in actual performance in the over-stepping, voluntary quadriceps contraction, or jumping tasks. The cognitive processing of inputs that specify the estimated consequences of motor action is discussed as the main explanation for the inability to successfully update the perception of action capabilities after sleep deprivation.