Sleep vs. Code

I was reminder of this paper a while ago.

It's named "Need for Sleep: the Impact of a Night of Sleep Deprivation on Novice Developers’ Performance" and in this paper a group of students volunteered to deprive themselves of sleep to see how it might affect their coding skills.

The setup was pretty clever. The students had to implement piglatin and they would get some unit tests that had to pass. They were told that their performance would be measured on these tests. But the researchers also had a set of unit tests that the students would not be able to see.

The effect was pretty easy to guess:

By comparing the two groups of participants, we found that a single night of sleep deprivation leads to a reduction of 50% in the quality of the implementations.

The researches also corrected for a bunch of things like grades to make sure they sleep deprived folks randomly. It's a pretty fun read, even though you might not need to read the paper to get this particular conclusion.