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Effects of total sleep deprivation on performance in a manual spacecraft docking task

Piechowski, Sarah Madeleine and Kalkoffen, Lennard Jeremy and Benderoth, Sibylle and Wolf, Oliver T. and Rittweger, Jörn and Aeschbach, Daniel and Mühl, Christian (2024) Effects of total sleep deprivation on performance in a manual spacecraft docking task. npj Microgravity, 10, p. 21. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s41526-024-00361-z. ISSN 2373-8065.

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Official URL: https://rdcu.be/dzeTj


Sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruptions are highly prevalent in shift workers, and also among astronauts. Resulting sleepiness can reduce cognitive performance, lead to catastrophic occupational events, and jeopardize space missions. We investigated whether 24 hours of total sleep deprivation would affect performance not only in the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT), but also in a complex operational task, i.e. simulated manual spacecraft docking. Sixty-two healthy participants completed the manual docking simulation 6df and the PVT once after a night of total sleep deprivation and once after eight hours of scheduled sleep in a counterbalanced order. We assessed the impact of sleep deprivation on docking as well as PVT performance and investigated if sustained attention is an essential component of operational performance after sleep loss. The results showed that docking accuracy decreased significantly after sleep deprivation in comparison to the control condition, but only at difficult task levels. PVT performance deteriorated under sleep deprivation. Participants with larger impairments in PVT response speed after sleep deprivation also showed larger impairments in docking accuracy. In conclusion, sleep deprivation led to impaired 6df performance, which was partly explained by impairments in sustained attention. Elevated motivation levels due to the novelty and attractiveness of the task may have helped participants to compensate for the effects of sleepiness at easier task levels. Continued testing of manual docking skills could be a useful tool both to detect sleep loss-related impairments and assess astronauts’ readiness for duty during long-duration missions.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/202938/
Document Type:Article
Title:Effects of total sleep deprivation on performance in a manual spacecraft docking task
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Piechowski, Sarah MadeleineUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3790-376X155806948
Kalkoffen, Lennard JeremyGerman Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Department of Sleep and Human FactorsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Wolf, Oliver T.Ruhr University Bochum, Department of Cognitive Psychologyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9320-2124UNSPECIFIED
Rittweger, JörnUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2223-8963UNSPECIFIED
Date:21 February 2024
Journal or Publication Title:npj Microgravity
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 21
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Keywords:sleep deprivation, operational performance, manual spacecraft docking, six degrees of freedom, sustained attention
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Human-machine interaction
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Sleep and Human Factors Research
Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Muscle and Bone Metabolism
Deposited By: Piechowski, Sarah Madeleine
Deposited On:19 Mar 2024 16:34
Last Modified:19 Mar 2024 16:34

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