The Relationship between amount of sleep and reaction time

Topics: Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Sleep disorder Pages: 11 (2762 words) Published: June 1, 2014

Problem: Reaction time can be a very important thing in daily life. Reaction time is not only crucial for an athlete when playing quick sports but the average person will need to use their reaction time in daily life. When an object falls, catching the object or when driving, having a quick reaction time could be vital to the safety and wellbeing of the driver and the passengers even when it comes down to differences in seconds.

In addition, there have been many catastrophic events in the world caused by lack of sleep or fatigue in certain situations. These include the disaster of Chernobyl, the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, many claim, were caused by lack of sleep and fatigue. The employees at Chernobyl were overworked, working 13 hours or more. The pilots of the Challenger had a significant lack of sleep and the oil spill caused by the workers working over 22 hours per day. Furthermore, these catastrophic events are all that could be affected or prevented with a quick reaction time. Therefore, could the fatigue and lack of sleep have led to slower reaction times causing these events to occur or was it another variable that the fatigue caused? I wonder if there is a relationship between amount of sleep and reaction time.

Plan: To find out the relationship between amount of sleep and reaction time, if there is one, I will be using two different type of investigation. Firstly, I will be doing some of the investigation myself by taking a sample from my year group and having them complete a test. In addition to that, I will also be getting results from other studies, investigations and reports on the same experiment as the results would be more reliable and varied.

For my own investigation, since I am comparing, it is difficult to have certain independent or dependant variables. However, since I am seeing how amount of sleep affects reaction time, as my independent variable, I will use the amount of sleep measured in hours and I will be using the reaction time measured in seconds. I will obtain the amount of sleep by asking the people within the sample and I will get the reaction time by having the sample take a free online test. For this investigation, I will be using convenience sampling since the investigation has a very small time limit and I will not have any resources available to investigate on a larger sample or to do a sample which is outside of this sample. Therefore these results are quite unreliable since it is only done on a very small group and it is only convenience sampling so it only takes into account a very small group of people in a certain location. This is why I will also be using other investigations, papers and studies to get more reliable and accurate information. I will have a sample of 15 people from M4 in Dwight School London and I will be using the internet to find papers, studies, etc. to find more reliable, accurate and more varied data.

Once I have collected the results, I will firstly create a table out of the raw information to simply take down the results. Then, I will create a processed data table to make it easier to create graphs. Then I will work out averages for the reaction times and amount of sleep making them into box and whisker plots. Then, I will create a scatter graph to compare both my variables.

I believe that the results will be that the amount of sleep has a very large influence over one’s reaction time. I believe that the more time one sleeps, the better their reaction time will be (quicker). I believe this firstly because from experience and common knowledge, since when I have less sleep or when I am drowsy, I tend to feel less alert and to be impaired in terms of reacting to certain things. In addition, I have already seen some news articles claiming that sleep deprivation leads to slower reaction time.

Raw Data
Time they went to sleep
Time they awoke
Reaction Time (s)

Cited: Klein, Sarah. "5 Other Disastrous Accidents Related To Sleep Deprivation." The Huffington Post., 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 21 May 2014.
Leslie, Mitch. "Stanford Report, September 29, 1999 Sleep Impacts Reaction Time as Much as Alcohol." Stanford Report (1999): n. pag. Stanford University. Stanford University, 29 Sept. 1999. Web. 22 May 2014.
Lorenzo, I., J. Ramos, C. Acre, MA Guevara, and M. Corsi-Cabera. "Effect Of Total Sleep Deprivation On Reaction Time And Waking EEG Activity In Man." Departamento De Psicofisiologfa, Facultad De Psicologfa and Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, Universidad Nacional Aut6noma De Mexico, Mexico 18.05 (1995): n. pag. Departamento De Psicofisiologfa, Facultad De Psicologfa and Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, Universidad Nacional Aut6noma De Mexico, Mexico. Web. 22 May 2014.
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