Sleep Deprivation/Cognitive Impairment

Sleep deprivation, or the lack of adequate amounts of sleep, can adversely affect the brain and lead to cognitive impairment, such as deficits in attention span and memory loss. Lapses in attention can be fatal: car crashes and industrial disasters have been attributed to sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation may also be linked to mental illnesses such as psychosis and bipolar disorder. A great lack of sleep can make the brain incapable of putting events into the proper perspective. Distorted perceptions can lead to inappropriate emotional and behavioral responses and, rarely, hallucinations and erratic behavior.

Potential forensic implications:

  • industrial accidents
  • motor vehicle accidents

Case studies: