Multiple caffeine doses maintain vigilance, attention, complex motor sequence expression, and manual dexterity during 77 hours of total sleep deprivation

William D.S. Killgore, Gary H. Kamimori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sleep deprivation (SD) and fatigue have detrimental effects on performance in operational settings. Few studies have investigated the cumulative effects of SD and fatigue on performance under heavy workload demands. Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of multiple repeated doses of caffeine as a countermeasure to SD and fatigue during 77 h total SD (TSD) during the early morning hours. Twenty-three males and females, 18 – 35 years of age, who identified as moderate caffeine consumers completed the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) 141 times during the experimental test period. Caffeine was administered in a multi-dose paradigm over three nights without sleep. Participants received either caffeine (200 mg) or placebo at the beginning of each 2-h test block from 0100 – 0900 (800 mg total per night). While PVT speed declined for both groups across all 3 nights, the caffeine group consistently out-performed the placebo group. Caffeine maintained attentiveness (1-5 s lapses) on night 1, but this advantage was lost on nights 2 and 3. Caffeine outperformed placebo for responsive lapses (5-9 s lapses) across all three nights, but caffeine performance was still notably worse than at baseline. Prolonged non-responsive lapses (beyond 10 s) were only reduced by caffeine on night 2. Caffeine was more effective than placebo across all nights at sustaining completion speed of a complex motor sequence task and a manual coordination task. Essentially, caffeine is an effective countermeasure for SD, as it mitigates declines in speed and failures to respond, and sustains motor planning and coordination. However, caffeine does not restore normal functioning during SD and cannot be considered as a replacement for sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100051
JournalNeurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Boredom/monotony
  • Caffeine
  • Grooved pegboard
  • Multi dose paradigm
  • PVT
  • Total sleep deprivation
  • Tower of Hanoi
  • Vigilance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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