Lack of sleep has long been considered a public health epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says insufficient sleep is linked to vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. And now new research shows that it also leads to errors in memory.
The study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of California, Irvine was to gauge the effect of insufficient sleep on memory. The study revealed that participants deprived of a nights sleep were more likely to make mistakes concerning the details of a simulated burglary they were shown in a series of images. The reason for the study is that distorted memory can have serious consequences in areas such as criminal justice, where eyewitness misidentifications are thought to be the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States.
And those who were kept awake for 24 hours, as well as those who got five hours of sleep- were more likely to mix up event details than participants who were well rested. We found memory distortion is greater after sleep deprivation, said study co-investigator Kimberly Finn, MSU associate professor of psychology. And people are getting less sleep each night than they ever have. People who repeatedly get low amounts of sleep every night could be more prone in the long run to develop these forms of memory distortion. Its not just a full night of sleep deprivation that puts them at risk.