Cognitive Processing and Sleep: Implications for Enhancing Job Performance

James K. Wyatt, Richard R. Bootzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The relation between cognitive processing and sleep is examined in three areas: the effect of sleep in producing deficits in memory for events that take place immediately before sleep, the effect of naps on performance following sleep, and the capacity of individuals to process information presented while asleep. A review of the literature and discussion of practical implications lead to the conclusions that sleep does produce a form of amnesia for events taking place immediately before sleep and that sleep inertia can produce detrimental effects on subsequent performance, particularly if individuals have been sleep deprived. Nevertheless, naps have been found to improve subsequent performance during critical work periods if time for recovery from sleep inertia is provided. In the area of cognitive processing during sleep, considerable evidence exists for some forms of cognitive processing. However, elaborated processing of semantic information during sleep has rarely been demonstrated in the absence of signs of arousal, even when one examines implicit, in addition to explicit, tests of memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-139
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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