Sleep Deprivation and Behavioral Risk-Taking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


Sleep deprivation temporarily alters brain functioning, particularly within the prefrontal cortex, the region most involved in regulating and modulating behavior. Some of these changes may affect cognitive processes that increase the propensity to engage in risk-taking behavior. Risk-taking can result from alterations in elementary cognitive functions, such as simple attention and lack of awareness of deficits, induced by sleep loss. Sleep loss can also increase risk-taking by reducing inhibitory capacity or by changing subjective willingness to engage in risk. At the highest levels, sleep loss can change behavioral, cognitive, and emotional factors that alter the willingness to take risks. Most research supports the hypothesis that sleep deprivation increases many aspects of risk-taking, including simple impairments in attention and judgment, greater willingness to accept risk, and a tendency to focus on short-term rather than long-term consequences, but it may also reduce the effort that individuals are willing to devote toward risky behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationModulation of Sleep by Obesity, Diabetes, Age, and Diet
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780124202405
ISBN (Print)9780124201682
StatePublished - 2015


  • Decision-making
  • Emotion
  • Executive function
  • Risk-taking
  • Sleep deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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