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The Importance of Sleep In the Context of Attention–Why you should sleep before your exams

May 3rd, 2014 12 comments

Sleep is a mysterious thing. Still, it’s commonly known that sleep is an extremely important process in many different ways. Among these important functions, it’s a well-known finding among cognitive psychologists that sleep is heavily involved with cognitive performance. Consequently, sleep deprivation, or lack of sleep, can be responsible for markedly declined cognitive performance on a wide array of tasks. Tasks such as memory tests and attention measures show forgetting and inability to focus, among other reductions in cognitive function.


Don’t fall asleep on bread.

The negative effects on cognition that sleep deprivation causes have frequently been thought to be a general decrease in function, as opposed to a specific effect with particular characteristics. In this way, the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive processes are not fully understood. However, a recent study by researchers at the University of Trieste in Italy attempted to explore some more specifics about how sleep deprivation affects the brain and cognitive function.

One of the most important parts of cognition that suffers when we don’t sleep is attention. Attentional processes are involved in focusing on the task at hand. We are all familiar with gaps in attention. From being unable to focus the morning after a long night of partying, to being unable to sit still in anticipation of an exciting event, or being extremely tired after staying up all night with a newborn baby, we are all familiar with having difficulty focusing on specific parts of our lives. Thus, attention is a very important process, because it controls our ability to do anything. As David Strayer put it, attention is the Holy Grail. It controls how cognitive processes work, and what they work on. Read more…

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