2003 Volume 22 Issue 6 Pages 257-263
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the exposure to bright light on EEG activity and subjective sleepiness at rest and at the mental task during nocturnal sleep deprivation. Eight male subjects lay awake in semi-supine in a reclining seat from 21:00 to 04:30 under the bright (BL; >2500 lux) or the dim (DL; <150 lux) light conditions. During the sleep deprivation, the mental task (Stroop color-word conflict test: CWT) was performed each 15 min in one hour. EEG, subjective sleepiness, rectal and mean skin temperatures and urinary melatonin concentrations were measured. The subjective sleepiness increased with time of sleep deprivation during both rest and CWT under the DL condition. The exposure to bright light delayed for 2 hours the increase in subjective sleepiness at rest and suppressed the increase in that during CWT. The bright light exposure also delayed the increase in the theta and alpha wave activities in EEG at rest. In contrast, the effect of the bright light exposure on the theta and alpha wave activities disappeared by CWT. Additionally, under the BL condition, the entire theta activity during CWT throughout nocturnal sleep deprivation increased significantly from that in a rest condition. Our results suggest that the exposure to bright light throughout nocturnal sleep deprivation influences the subjective sleepiness during the mental task and the EEG activity, as well as the subjective sleepiness at rest. However, the effect of the bright light exposure on the EEG activity at the mental task diminishes throughout nocturnal sleep deprivation.