Time Estimation during Prolonged Sleep Deprivation and Its Relation to Activation Measures
This is the first study to analyze variations in time estimation during 60 h of sleep deprivation and the relation between time estimation performance and the activation measures of skin resistance level, body temperature, and Stanford Sleepiness Scale (SSS) scores. Among 30 healthy participants 18 to 24 years of age, for a 10-s interval using the production method, we found a lengthening in time estimations that was modulated by circadian oscillations. No differences in gender were found in the time estimation task during sleep deprivation. The variations in time estimation correlated significantly with body temperature, skin resistance level, and SSS throughout the sleep deprivation period. When body temperature is elevated, indicating a high level of activation, the interval tends to be underestimated, and vice versa. When the skin resistance level or SSS is elevated (low activation), time estimation is lengthened, and vice versa. This lengthening is important because many everyday situations involve duration estimation under moderate to severe sleep loss. Actual or potential applications of this research include transportation systems, emergency response work, sporting activities, and industrial settings in which accuracy in anticipation or coincidence timing is important for safety or efficiency.