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Awakening to Sleep - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Mar. 10th, 2011

10:56 am - Awakening to Sleep

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This would make sense if the consequences of sleep loss were more benign. But the penalties for what might be called catastrophic sleep loss are well known. Allan Rechtschaffen has done a famous series of experiments in which rats were wakened to death. Rats deprived of total sleep died in two and a half weeks, after their thermoregulatory systems collapsed. Rats deprived of REM sleep died in five weeks. (No one knows how soon a rat would die if, like the insomniac subgroup Mendelson described, it merely believed it had been deprived of sleep.)
via nytimes.com

Rats die after two weeks of total sleep loss. They can survive without food for about the same amount of time.

Posted via email from crasch's posterous

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From:evelynne
Date:March 10th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
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All right, you, what's your interest in this topic? Are you somebody who proudly admits to being a big sleeper? Are you a big sleeper who's been in denial of your true nature for years? Are you one of those lucky people who can feel fully refreshed on four hours of sleep? Is it just a scientific interest?

I'm a big sleep advocate, so I've been enjoying these articles. I know that I am much happier and sharper when I get at least 8 hours a night, preferably 8.5, and longer just because sleeping is fun. It really is not good for me to have less sleep for extended periods of time. It's very stressful on me, mentally and physically. Although I am glad that I learned that I can function on an extended period of crappy sleep if I have to -- it makes me much more relaxed about the occasional bad night or two -- I would never deliberately choose to forgo sleep, even though sometimes I wish there were more hours in a day.
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From:evelynne
Date:March 10th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
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I finally had a chance to finish reading the article. I think I am most fascinated by this concept of bimodal sleep, with those periods of rest where people do nothing. I can't imagine spending 2 periods of 2 hours every night laying around doing nothing. It seems like I would be so bored, and yet apparently the people in the study were not. I told Poindexter that when we retire or if we ever have a long enough vacation, I want to stop exposing ourselves to artificial light (so no TV or internet after sunset) and see what happens to our sleep patterns. :)
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From:nder
Date:March 10th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
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Having been awake for 99% of 10 days before( I think we managed about 4 hours total of cat naps during test renders), I can attest that it does gnarrrrly things to your body, beyond the sepsis that's supposed to kick in about a week in. Driving home from the client tape dropoff was an interesting experience, heh.
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