4 May 2007

Research digest - Sleep and risk decisions

A new study published in the journal ‘Sleep’ has demonstrated that we tend to take riskier options in decision making in conditions of sleep deprivation. This has obvious relevance to climbers in the area of trad climbing and mountaineering. In fact if the effect size of sleep deprivation on risk taking behaviour is large then it’s a wonder our best alpinists are still with us! But it also has strong relevance in avoiding injury too. Knowing when to let go or adjust position in a high risk body position or move is critical for avoiding injuries in climbing. It’s no accident that climbers with poor footwork or a sloppy ‘rushed’ approach always complain the most about tweaks and soft tissue injuries, or indeed have climbing accidents.

The study found that the part of the brain associated with anticipation of reward becomes selectively more active with lack of sleep, slewing our judgements towards more risky options and away from concern for possible negative consequences.

So we can add one more reason to the list of reasons to get plenty of sleep if you want to improve at climbing and avoid injury.

This news came from Science Daily

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dave - and further, sleep deprivation appears to be associated with reduced glucose metabolism. Haven't seen the original paper, but this was in the news: