Behavioural measurements of sleep onset: A comparison of two devices.
Daytime fatigue as a result of reducing nocturnal sleep in order to work longer hours is a common problem in modem societies. Recent research has shown that a nap of 10 minutes in length can increase people's awareness and subsequent performance. However, the problem arises of how to undertake a 10 minute nap without over-sleeping. Behavioural measurements of sleep onset may provide the answer, as they are an inexpensive and convenient way to measure sleep onset. This study examined which out of a passive and active behavioural device was the best measure of sleep onset as defined by polysornnograhic sleep onset. The present study used a repeated measures design which involved six participants who were measured using both the active and passive devices, each for three days. On each occasion the participants were measured, they undertook a total of nine sleep onset sessions. Six of the sleep onset sessions involved participants falling asleep whilst using the device, while three sessions involved them falling asleep without the device (control condition). The results revealed no significant difference between the active and passive device both for their discrepancy magnitude from polysornnograhic sleep onset and for their discrepancy standard deviations. In addition there were no learning effects for the devices, and the devices did not prolong sleep onset compared to the control condition. The results obtained suggested that both devices were effective measures of sleep onset. However, further research will need to be undertaken to address the limitations of this study and provide a more detailed analysis of the two devices before the full extent of their effectiveness can be determined.