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Postgraduate Education Corner: CONTEMPORARY REVIEWS IN SLEEP MEDICINE |

Sleep Loss and Sleepiness: Current Issues

Thomas J. Balkin, PhD; Tracy Rupp, PhD; Dante Picchioni, PhD; Nancy J. Wesensten, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Behavioral Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD.

Correspondence to: Thomas J. Balkin, PhD, Department of Behavioral Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Ave, Room 2A26, Silver Spring, MD 20910; e-mail: thomas.balkin@us.army.mil


This material has been reviewed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and there is no objection to its presentation and/or publication. The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the position of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

The authors have reported to the ACCP that no significant conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Chest. 2008;134(3):653-660. doi:10.1378/chest.08-1064
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Awareness of the consequences of sleep loss and its implications for public health and safety is increasing. Sleep loss has been shown to generally impair the entire spectrum of mental abilities, ranging from simple psychomotor performance to executive mental functions. Sleep loss may also impact metabolism in a manner that contributes to obesity and its attendant health consequences. Although objective measures of alertness and performance remain degraded, individuals subjectively habituate to chronic partial sleep loss (eg, sleep restriction), and recovery from this type of sleep loss is slow, factors that may help to explain the observation that many individuals in the general population are chronically sleep restricted. Individual differences in habitual sleep duration appear to be a trait-like characteristic that is determined by several factors, including genetic polymorphisms.


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