Sleepiness and vigilance tests

Mathis, J; Hess, C W (2009). Sleepiness and vigilance tests. Swiss medical weekly, 139(15-16), pp. 214-9. Muttenz: EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

Objective assessments of subjective complaints such as sleepiness, tiredness or fatigue using sleepiness and vigilance tests aim to identify its causes and to judge the fitness to drive or to work of the affected person. "Vigilance" comprises wakefulness, alertness and attention and is therefore not merely reciprocal to sleepiness. Since it is a complex phenomenon with several dimensions it is unlikely to be appropriately assessed by one single "vigilance test". One important dimension of vigilance discussed here is wakefulness with its counterpart of overt sleep and the whole spectrum of various levels in between. The transit zone between full wakefulness and overt sleep is mainly characterised by the subjective complaint of sleepiness, which cannot be measured directly. Only the consequences of reduced wakefulness such as a shortened sleep latency, slowed cognitive function and prolonged reaction time can be measured objectively. It is, therefore, more promising to combine a battery of subjective and objective tests to answer a specific question in order to achieve the most appropriate description for a given clinical or medicolegal situation. However even then we must keep in mind that many other important aspects of fitness to drive / fitness to work such as neurological, psychiatric and neuropsychological functions including risk taking behaviour are not covered by vigilance tests. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach is essential in such situations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Mathis, Johannes




EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:14

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:24

PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 197951)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback