Can Lack of Sleep Affect Cognitive Thinking?

According to leading scientists who study sleep deprivation, SD, there is a direct correlation between the amount of sleep an individual gets and the way in which they are able to employ a cognitive thought process. Although this is a newer field of study in terms of how sleep deprivation impacts mental abilities, there is ample evidence to say that sleep deprivation can significantly have a negative impact on cognitive thinking. As well, SD also takes a toll on other thought processes as well, and here are just a few of them.


There is no surprise to state emphatically that lack of sleep can drastically reduce memory. How often have you, personally, experienced this? Someone asks you a question and for the life of you, you just can’t remember where you put the keys, for example. This is one of the main reasons why students are told that it is much better to get a good night’s sleep prior to a major exam, because their memory is significantly improved with a full 6 to 8 hours rest. Certain pharmaceuticals such as Modafinil are known to also improve memory and you can buy Modafinil online to have on-hand for those moments when you need an extra bit of memory to get you through a particularly grueling examination.

Perception & Cognition

These two are often linked when being spoken of by medical or psychiatric specialists because they work in tandem. Perception is how you view something, how you perceive it to be, and cognition puts that into the realm of understanding. For example, I see something visually such as the color of meat as it is cooking and I understand it to be done when it reaches a certain level of pink or brown. That’s perception and cognition in simple terms. Evidence proves that SD does have an impact on these two interwoven thought processes.

Executive Thought Processes

When you hear of business men and women making an executive decision, they are working on this part of the brain. Let’s think of it in terms of perception and cognition as it is all one relay system where one process triggers the next. I see something so I understand it to be and therefore I will act in this way. For example, ‘I see that employee sitting down so I understand that he is not doing his job. Therefore, he’s fired.’ That’s an executive thought process that results from the two previous processes of perception and cognition.

There is a physiological basis for stating that lack of sleep definitely has a negative impact on cognition although there is much yet to be learned. With the use of specific substances such as Gingko (an herb) and Modafinil, it is possible to stimulate cognition, in people of all ages. Whilst many believe cognition to be a problem in the elderly population, people of all ages have trouble when they are not getting the required minimum amount of daily rest. On those days, a little extra help is just what the doctor called for.