In today's society, numerous situations arise in which sleep deprivation is a common occurrence. Subjective perceptions are a vital component to understanding the effects of sustained performance during sleep deprivation, as they may be the first indication of the effects of sustained performance or sleep deprivation on the individual. Using the theoretical framework of the Controlled Attention Model, this study examined the effects of 16 h of sustained performance under 28 h of acute sleep deprivation on perceived effort, motivation, and stress of 24 participants while completing a complex cognitive and a simple vigilance task. Perceived effort increased for both tasks, with higher effort reported on the cognitive than the vigilance task at the beginning of the experimental period, but with higher effort reported on the vigilance than the cognitive task at the end. Subjective motivation decreased for both tasks, with significantly higher levels of motivation on the cognitive than the vigilance task. Perceived stress did not change for either task. Results suggest that functioning under sustained performance and sleep-deprivation conditions affects subjective perceptions differently for cognitive versus vigilance tasks. The controlled attention model offers one means of understanding how different tasks could affect a person's subjective perceptions and ability to perform, in that different levels of controlled attention are required for the two tasks.