Poor sleep linked to inability to focus - new study

David James Robertson, Christopher B. Miller

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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The morning after a difficult night’s sleep, it can feel impossible to wake up. You might press the snooze button just one more time in an attempt to gain a bit more of that restorative slumber.

Later that day, you might notice it’s harder to stay focused. Distractions that would normally go unnoticed – such as the phone ringing in the office next door – can more easily disrupt your concentration when you’ve slept poorly.

Research has shown poor sleep is linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as worsening mental health and a weaker immune system. But much less research has focused on assessing the daytime effects of poor sleep on cognitive processes, such as the ability to stay focused on a given task.

In our new study we investigated the effects of poor sleep on participants’ ability to focus. We did so in a group of people diagnosed with insomnia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021


  • sleep
  • insomnia
  • attention
  • selective attention
  • perceptual load
  • tired
  • tiredness
  • focus

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