Sleep is well known to have a significant impact on learning and memory. Specifically, studies adopting an experimentally induced sleep loss protocol in healthy individuals have provided evidence that the consolidation of spatial memories, as acquired through navigating and orienteering in spatial surroundings, is negatively affected by total sleep loss. Here, we used both objective and subjective measures to characterize individuals' quality of sleep, and grouped participants into either a poor (insomnia-like) or normal (control) sleep quality group. We asked participants to solve a wayfinding task in a virtual environment, and scored their performance by measuring the time spent to reach a target location and the number of wayfinding errors made while navigating. We found that participants with poor sleep quality were slower and more error-prone than controls in solving the task. These findings provide novel evidence that pre-existing sleep deficiencies in otherwise healthy individuals affects negatively the ability to learn novel routes, and suggest that sleep quality should be accounted for among healthy individuals performing experimental spatial orientation tasks in virtual environments.

Poor sleep quality affects spatial orientation in virtual environments

FERRARA, MICHELE;
2016

Abstract

Sleep is well known to have a significant impact on learning and memory. Specifically, studies adopting an experimentally induced sleep loss protocol in healthy individuals have provided evidence that the consolidation of spatial memories, as acquired through navigating and orienteering in spatial surroundings, is negatively affected by total sleep loss. Here, we used both objective and subjective measures to characterize individuals' quality of sleep, and grouped participants into either a poor (insomnia-like) or normal (control) sleep quality group. We asked participants to solve a wayfinding task in a virtual environment, and scored their performance by measuring the time spent to reach a target location and the number of wayfinding errors made while navigating. We found that participants with poor sleep quality were slower and more error-prone than controls in solving the task. These findings provide novel evidence that pre-existing sleep deficiencies in otherwise healthy individuals affects negatively the ability to learn novel routes, and suggest that sleep quality should be accounted for among healthy individuals performing experimental spatial orientation tasks in virtual environments.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/110526
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