Journal Article

0196 Whirled Peas: Time Awake, Sleep Problems, And Language Errors

P V Thacher, S V Onyper and Y Lai


Published on behalf of American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Volume 41, issue suppl_1, pages A76-A77
ISSN: 0161-8105
Published online April 2018 | e-ISSN: 1550-9109 | DOI:

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  • Neurology
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Clinical Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience


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Few studies have considered the effects of sleep loss on expressive and receptive language. We investigated written language errors that are produced by individuals who report sleep loss or extended wakefulness compared to those with sufficient sleep or less time awake.


Participants (20–50 years of age) completed the study online. They reported a minimum of 12 years of education, < 3 prescription medications, and an absence of sleep or language disorders, learning disabilities, psychiatric disorders, or traumatic brain injury. Those who passed qualifying questions and data reliability checks (n = 232) completed questionnaires on sleep (PSQI), circadian preference (Owl-Lark), tasks targeting working memory, attention, and verbal ability, and produced two typing samples: copying and producing original text. They also completed multiple-choice tasks measuring technical, grammatical, and syntactical errors, plus the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI).


Those who were awake longer committed more spelling errors (p < .05) and errors in syntax and word usage (p < .05). They typed more slowly (p < .001) and typed fewer characters (p < .001). Time awake did not reliably predict when the first error occurred either when copying or producing text, however. Higher morning preference was associated with fewer language errors (p < .05), but also lower typing speed and accuracy (p < .001). Older and female participants were generally more accurate on language measures. Finally, BSI scores were higher in those who reported longer time awake (p < .05) and in individuals with higher PSQI global scores (p < .001).


Prolonged wakefulness was associated with language errors, typing speed, and increased self-report of psychiatric symptoms. Surprisingly, larks did worse on the typing task than did owls, although not when producing original text. Increased BSI scores in those awake longer may represent a response bias.

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Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Neurology ; Sleep Medicine ; Clinical Neuroscience ; Neuroscience

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