Sleep Deprivation for Sleep Debt

Waitlist Available · 18 - 65 · All Sexes · Boston, MA

This study is evaluating whether sleep deprivation affects the processing of emotional information.

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About the trial for Sleep Debt

Eligible Conditions
Sleep Deprivation · Sleep

Treatment Groups

This trial involves 2 different treatments. Sleep Deprivation is the primary treatment being studied. Participants will all receive the same treatment. There is no placebo group. The treatments being tested are not being studied for commercial purposes.

Main TreatmentA portion of participants receive this new treatment to see if it outperforms the control.
Sleep Deprivation
Daytime nap
Control TreatmentAnother portion of participants receive the standard treatment to act as a baseline.
Sleep Deprivation

About The Treatment

First Studied
Drug Approval Stage
How many patients have taken this drug
Sleep Deprivation


This trial is for patients born any sex between 18 and 65 years old. There are 4 eligibility criteria to participate in this trial as listed below.

Inclusion & Exclusion Checklist
Mark “yes” if the following statements are true for you:
willing to refrain from alcohol and recreational drugs for the duration of the protocol
normal or corrected to normal vision is required
willing and able to follow the protocol
willing and able to meet inclusion criteria for fMRI scanning
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Odds of Eligibility
Be sure to apply to 2-3 other trials, as you have a low likelihood of qualifying for this one.Apply To This Trial

Approximate Timelines

Please note that timelines for treatment and screening will vary by patient
Screening: ~3 weeks
Treatment: varies
Reporting: 12-24 hours
Screening: ~3 weeks
Treatment: Varies
Reporting: 12-24 hours
This trial has approximate timelines as follows: 3 weeks for initial screening, variable treatment timelines, and reporting: 12-24 hours.
View detailed reporting requirements
Trial Expert
Connect with the researchersHop on a 15 minute call & ask questions about:
- What options you have available- The pros & cons of this trial
- Whether you're likely to qualify- What the enrollment process looks like

Measurement Requirements

This trial is evaluating whether Sleep Deprivation will improve 3 primary outcomes and 3 secondary outcomes in patients with Sleep Debt. Measurement will happen over the course of 1-24 hours.

Psychomotor vigilance task lapse rate
1-24 HOURS
The absolute number of trials in a 5-min test period on which the participant fails to responds with 500ms is calculated as the lapse rate.
1-24 HOURS
Morphed Face Accuracy and Intensity
1-24 HOURS
Participants are asked to identify and rate emotional intensity of ambiguous emotional faces (happy, sad, angry) that have been morphed with neutral faces. Scores for each emotional domain will be calculated as (i) accuracy score (number of faces correctly identified over total faces seen), and (ii) average emotional intensity rating. Task will be completed at baseline, post-sleep/sleep deprivation, and post-nap/no nap, and within-subject comparisons will determine how interventions impact emotional perception.
1-24 HOURS
Emotional Memory Tradeoff Memory Score
12-24 HOURS
Following sleep or sleep deprivation, participants will complete emotional memory tradeoff recognition task at two time points, separated by a nap or wakefulness. Corrected hit rate will be calculated for negative and neutral scene components as the percentage of correctly identified "old" objects/backgrounds minus percentage of false alarms ("new" pictures marked as "old")
12-24 HOURS
fMRI measured neural reactivity (blood oxygen-level dependent signal)
12-24 HOURS
Following sleep or sleep deprivation, regions of interest include amygdala reactivity and connectivity between the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) in response to negative and neutral stimuli.
12-24 HOURS
Heart Rate Reactivity (Beats per minute)
12-24 HOURS
The change in heart rate beats per minute in response to negative and neutral stimuli after sleep or sleep deprivation.
12-24 HOURS
Skin Conductance Reactivity (micro Siemens)
12-24 HOURS
The change in electrodermal activity in response to negative and neutral stimuli after sleep or sleep deprivation.
12-24 HOURS

Who is running the study

Principal Investigator
R. S.
Prof. Robert Stickgold, Professor of Psychiatry
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Patient Q & A Section

Please Note: These questions and answers are submitted by anonymous patients, and have not been verified by our internal team.

What causes sleep debt?

The effect of sleep on mood and quality of life is underestimated. This is because, in general, subjects spend long hours on the sofa in daytime, watching TV, or playing video games. Inadequate sleep in many individuals, especially those who prefer to sleep only in the evening and sleep in the early hours, creates sleep debt. The most affected periods tend to be during the weekend and at night. In order to reduce sleep debt, individuals should reduce or avoid consumption of mind-altering drugs such as amphetamines, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, or others. The latter consumption usually brings with it negative impacts on sleep debt and quality of sleep.

Anonymous Patient Answer

How many people get sleep debt a year in the United States?

At least half of current U.S. citizens report some debt to sleep, and one out of five says he/she owes more than 2 hours per night on sleep debt.

Anonymous Patient Answer

Can sleep debt be cured?

Participants with sleep debt had impaired motor speed, cognitive control and gyrification. These deficits are related to an increase in sleep debt and an impact on health. Sleep debt is correlated with sleep deficit duration and circadian rhythm disorders, which may be more common in those affected with sleep debt.

Anonymous Patient Answer

What are common treatments for sleep debt?

Sleep debt can be alleviated by a varied treatment approach including non-pharmaceutical measures, as well as medications to deal with sleep problems. Many people believe that a short power-nap during the day is beneficial for sleep; however, this study found that this technique is ineffective. There is great research interest in the effects of sleep duration on mood, cognition and other functions, particularly with regard to sleep debt. Thus, non-pharmaceutical treatments are recommended to sleep debt sufferers. Further, the use of bedtime products can be useful in reducing sleep debt; however, people who use the products do not use them regularly.

Anonymous Patient Answer

What are the signs of sleep debt?

Sleep debt can consist of excessive hours of sleep without adequate total amount of REM sleep. Sleep debt can be difficult to discern based on a typical sleep act, as in most sleep debt scenarios, sleep debt is likely occurring during sleep in non-restorative sleep cycles like delta sleep and rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). The signs of sleep debt include depressed mood and reduced concentration after a prolonged period of sleep deprivation, as well as excessive daytime sleepiness and irritability. It is important to note that the symptoms of sleep debt are not the same as the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain or memory and cognition.

Anonymous Patient Answer

What is sleep debt?

The most likely cause of daytime sleepiness is fatigue, which results from lack or disinhibition of REM sleep. Sleep debt has a role to play in the development of other psychiatric conditions, as part of a complex causal pathway that runs from behavioural problems such as impulsivity, aggression, ADHD and substance misuse to sleep debt, which, in turn, has a range of associated psychiatric conditions including psychopathology and cognitive disturbances.

Anonymous Patient Answer

What is sleep deprivation?

Subjective sleep quality, as measured by the PSQI, and sleep debt, as measured by the EDS, are positively and independently associated with daytime symptoms of fatigue, depression, and joint pain. Achieving sleep quality and sleep debt of good quality may help reduce symptoms in multiple domains.

Anonymous Patient Answer

What are the latest developments in sleep deprivation for therapeutic use?

The information presented here will be useful for both medical professionals and research scientists. Additionally, Sleep Deficiency in the Healthcare Industry will be an area of interest to those in the field of nursing who are caring for chronically ill patients. Sleep deprivation in the healthcare environment is a challenge to be overcome to provide the level of care that patients expect and need.

Anonymous Patient Answer

Is sleep deprivation typically used in combination with any other treatments?

Sleep deprivation is usually used in combination with additional treatments for sleep related complaints during the treatment of insomnia. Therefore, future trials should specifically report the type of treatments that are used in combination with sleep deprivation and the treatment schedule as well as any potential differences in patient outcomes when comparing this information with treatment for insomnia without sleep deprivation. The conclusions of this paper are applicable to both chronic fatigue syndrome and insomnia.

Anonymous Patient Answer

How serious can sleep debt be?

Excessive sleep debt, like many psychological disorders, is a continuum that can range from mild/mildly persistent insomnia to severe/acute insomnia disorder in severity, as defined by objective and subjective assessment.

Anonymous Patient Answer

What is the primary cause of sleep debt?

Findings from a recent study suggest that primary sleep debt is due to sleep loss in a specific sleep period that lasts less than 6 hr. Findings from a recent study suggest the primary cause of sleep debt is sleep deprivation outside of the daytime hours, which is the typical sleep period.

Anonymous Patient Answer

Who should consider clinical trials for sleep debt?

The majority of participants did not consider the financial considerations they might face in receiving clinical trial enrollment and a small number of participants also perceived that they were excluded from clinical trials due to 'no longer having access to funds after enrolling in clinical trials' The fact that many felt financially marginalized by clinical trials suggested that they were likely candidates for clinical trial enrollment, particularly considering their experiences with their own diseases. Many patients are advised to consider their financial situation and the possibility of clinical trial enrollment prior to participating in clinical trials, however, our results support that some patients do not follow through with such advice. Although only a small percentage of participants did not consider their current financial situation to dictate clinical trial enrollment, there is not a uniform financial screening process.

Anonymous Patient Answer
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