Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Psychology

First Advisor

Ana I Fins

Second Advisor

Jaime L Tartar

Third Advisor

Robert E. Seifer

Fourth Advisor

Barry Nierenberg


clinical psychology, sleep loss, sleep restriction


Chronic sleep restriction impacts a significant proportion of the population, even though health is optimized following a minimum of seven hours of sleep. A preponderance of the literature examining the effects of sleep loss focuses on males and total sleep deprivation. Sleep restriction paradigms provide more ecological validity, as they are more consistent with sleep loss characterized in epidemiological studies. Moreover, enhancing the understanding of sleep loss among women, who are generally the gender most likely to encounter negative health as a result of poor sleep quality, is crucial. Thus, this investigation aimed to examine sleep restriction amongst a female sample. Group assignment was determined on the basis of objective and subjective measures of sleep collected in the baseline phase. Participants were then placed in the Naturally Sleep Restricted (NSR) group (n = 11), or the Experimentally Sleep Restricted (ESR) group (n = 9). The ESR group was assessed on Day 1 and Day 7 (i.e., prior to and following sleep restriction).

We hypothesized that following sleep restriction, the ESR group would exhibit decrements in biological, psychological, and neurocognitive functioning. We further hypothesized that relative to the ESR group at Day 1, the NSR group would exhibit reduced functioning. However, we hypothesized that the NSR participants would fare better compared to the ESR group at Day 7. Results indicated that following sleep restriction, the ESR group exhibited elevated IL-1β, anxiety, tension, and fatigue and a decrease in depression, anger, and reaction time. The NSR group evidenced elevated IL-6 relative to the ESR group at Day 1. Finally, relative to the NSR group, the ESR group at Day 7 exhibited elevated anxiety, tension, fatigue, confusion, and correct non-matches on a measure of working memory. Further, the ESR group at Day 7 evidenced lower levels of depression and anger relative to the NSR group. Generally, results indicate that volitional sleep restriction (NSR) produces a different constellation of outcomes relative to non-volitional sleep restriction (ESR). Future research should examine these variables with a larger sample size and over a longer period of sleep restriction in order to assess further changes in functioning.

Included in

Psychology Commons