Brain activation in well-rested persons is an accurate predictor of their performance during total sleep deprivation, according to a research abstract presented at the 20th anniversary SLEEP meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) at Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center, June 17-22, 2006.

For the study, a psychomotor vigilance task and a verbal learning task were conducted on 52 individuals, both while well rested and after 36 hours of total sleep deprivation. The researchers discovered that persons showing greater activation in task-related brain areas during a psychomotor vigilance task and a verbal learning task while well-rested also showed better performance on these tasks during total sleep deprivation.

Without sufficient rest, a person’s physical health, emotional well being, mental abilities, productivity, and performance are affected. The amount of sleep a person needs depends on many factors, including age. Infants generally require about 16 hours a day, while teenagers need about 9 hours on average. For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night is recommended to achieve good health and optimum performance.