Completed Studies

Sleep Aids, Sudden Awakening and Performance


There has been a need within certain fields for a sleep medication to assist workers in obtaining rest during lengthy breaks. There are two critical concerns when considering the use of a sleep medication during work period breaks. First, in the event of an emergency, will individuals be able to perform emergency procedures? Second, is there any impairment to cognitive performance caused by the medication?


An important requirement for a sleep medication is minimal negative effects on the user when a sudden awakening is required. The medication would need to promote sleep without any long-lasting effects. Until recently, there was not an appropriate substance to fill this role. However, with the introduction of the medication, zaleplon, it is possible that these requirements can be met. The use of sleep medication will allow those who are rapidly transitioning to night work or responding to critical situations to be better rested.


A group of 20 volunteers were paid a total of $1,140 ($10.00/hr.) for participating in this effort. The study consisted of four groups of four participants each, including both males and females. Each group of participants experienced two experimental sessions. In addition, three three-hour training sessions were conducted the week prior to the first session for a total of 114 hours for the duration of the study. Participants entered the research facility at 0900 and were released at 0730 the following day.