TUESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Extroverts are more
vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation after they've had
lots of social activity than after they've been alone, researchers
The new study included 23 extroverts (outgoing, unreserved
folks) and 25 introverts (reserved, shy types), aged 18 to 39, who
were randomly assigned to either a "socially enriched group" or a
"socially impoverished group."
Those in the socially enriched group spent 12 hours (10 a.m. to
10 p.m.) interacting with research technicians, playing card and
board games, doing puzzles, having group discussions and watching
movies. Those in the other group did similar activities by
themselves in private rooms.
The introverts in both groups showed no differences in
vulnerability to subsequent sleep deprivation. But the extroverts
in the social activity group were more likely to experience sleep
problems than those in the social isolation group, according to
lead author Tracy L. Rupp, a research psychologist at the Center
for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Walter Reed Army
Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md.
"The ability of introverts to resist sleep loss was relatively unaffected by the social environment. Overall, the present results might also be interpreted more generally to suggest that waking experiences, along with their interaction with individual characteristics, influence vulnerability to subsequent sleep loss," the study authors said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The authors also explained that because social interactions may
lead to fatigue in brain regions that control attention and
alertness, high levels of social stimulation may boost the need for
sleep. However, some people may be resistant to sleep loss, a trait
that could be linked to genetics. In particular, people who tend to
be introverts may have an increased resistance to sleep
deprivation, they noted.
The study findings are published in the Nov. 1 issue of the
The findings may have significance for occupations that require
workers to remain alert during extended periods of time. This
ability may be dependent on certain personality traits, the
researchers pointed out.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
and sleep problems.