Sleep deprivation and brain function

S. P A Drummond, Benjamin S McKenna

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the effects of sleep deprivation on brain function from the perspective of functional neuroimaging studies. This field is relatively new, but some general findings have emerged. There are two types of brain responses to sleep deprivation: (1) diminished cerebral activation with reduced performance, relative to a well-rested state, and (2) increased cerebral activation and relatively intact performance. This article reviews the existing literature and summarizes one hypothesis designed to reconcile the various findings, the compensatory recruitment hypothesis. We end with ideas for future research aimed at better understanding the effects of sleep deprivation on brain function.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Neuroscience
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080450469
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain function
  • Cognition
  • Compensatory recruitment
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Learning
  • Performance
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Sleep
  • Sleep deprivation

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